The digital divide and the opportunity gap. These are two of the closely related and defining issues that educators and administrators are grappling with today. At DeKalb County School District in Georgia, we set out to create a plan that narrows the digital divide our students are facing at school, in the community, and at home.

By providing our students with the digital technology needed for modern learning, we’ve started closing the opportunity gap caused in part by digital and technological inequities. Throughout this process, we learned important lessons and discovered key takeaways along the way that all schools can integrate into their own initiatives.

Installing hotspots to fire up learning

How our district is narrowing the digital divide

We started by creating the Digital Dreamers Program, an initiative to reaffirm our commitment to technology. The first step in this program was to install 25,000 hotspots in our schools and throughout the community. We created these connection points to diminish the digital divide and give our students the chance to access digital learning resources outside of school.

The hotspots allowed us to support extended learning because our students could now access the information they needed for their homework from anywhere. Our information technology department worked with Sprint to install these hotspots as a part of the organization’s program to help students across the U.S. have the opportunity to extend their learning day.

(Next page: Tips for closing the digital divide)

About the Author:

Gary Brantley is chief information officer at DeKalb County School District in Georgia. He has more than 20 years technology experience and 14 years of leadership experience. He is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and was named one of the “Top Thirty Technologist Trailblazers” by the Center of Digital Education.


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