As COVID made quite painfully clear, student access to reliable high-speed internet and engaging digital tools is essential. But many students don’t have access to these resources at school, at home, or both, leading to larger questions about the role of digital equity and student success during–and after–the pandemic.
A new CoSN study, supported by a grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, gives educators and policymakers a detailed view of students’ at-home learning experiences during the pandemic.
“Digital equity is not a new topic for CoSN. Since our founding, we have focused on addressing the digital divide and ensuring that fast connectivity, devices and equitable use happen in all classrooms. But since March 2020, the imperative of this outside-of-school challenge has become readily apparent to all. The Homework Gap was a chasm for millions of students and educators as the shift to remote learning occurred,” write Keith Krueger, CoSN’s CEO, and Steve Langford, chair of CoSN’s Board of Directors and the CIO of Oregon’s Beaverton School District, in the report’s introduction.
COVID caused an unprecedented and massive shift to online learning, and while online learning isn’t new itself, it became the primary mode of education delivery for most students. Even as most districts plan for a return to in-person learning in the fall, “the need for online remote access for K-12 instruction and learning resources is now integral to the U.S. education system,” according to the report.