digital divide

Study highlights plight of students with only one device at home

The digital divide proves tougher for students with fewer electronic devices at home

Naturally, students with access to more than one device at home use those devices more frequently than students with access to only one device at home. Sixty-eight percent of students with access to two or more devices use those devices for homework, while just 48 percent of students with access to only a smartphone use that device for homework.

Of students whose parents have a college degree, the majority have access to more than one device at home; just 7 percent of this group have access to only one device and 3 percent have access only to a smartphone–a disadvantage of 15 percentage points for first-generation college students.

Various reports and research offer a few suggestions as school leaders hope to tackle the digital divide and the homework gap:
1. Expand device and internet access among those who lack them
2. Ensure all students have easy access to the applications they need for school-related activities via mobile technology
3. Look to instructional coaches, who, according to Digital Promise research, can play a key role in closing the gap and advancing equity
4. Look to other districts for examples and best practices
5. Think about unconventional ways to connect students to the internet, such as putting wi-fi on school buses

Laura Ascione

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