Meet the Winners—Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) in Manassas, Virginia wins the 2024 Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity.

The CoSN Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity recognizes a district that is working to address digital equity, narrow the Homework Gap and ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

“PWCS’ commitment to bridging the digital divide is unwavering, and receiving the Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity recognizes the collaborative efforts of our division and schools,” said Matt Guilfoyle, Chief Information Officer, PWCS. “We believe that equitable access to technology is essential, and it is our responsibility to empower our students to be digital citizens who use information technology to better themselves and the world around them.”

PWCS uses and supports technology in innovative ways. Most importantly, each school has an instructional technology coach who offers professional development and assistance to teachers, supporting a culture of innovation. The rich data culture has positively affected attendance, student support and graduation rates.…Read More

Use tech to reassess assessment

With 25+ years of practice and research behind him, Joe Feldman—a former teacher, principal and district administrator—speaks from experience when it comes to the ongoing inequities and challenges that districts and schools have with grading. In this conversation with eSchool News, Feldman, author of the recently updated Grading for Equity, discusses the importance of equity in education, particularly in the context of grading practices. He emphasizes how the COVID-19 pandemic and events like the George Floyd protests highlighted the need to address these inequities, explains the flaws in traditional grading practices, and advocates for the need for change. He also explores how technology can aid in more accurate, unbiased, and motivational assessment methods. Have a listen and scroll down for some other takeaways, and an excerpt from his book:

➔Traditional grading practices have flaws, including inaccuracies, biases, and demotivation, and the pandemic has exposed these shortcomings, prompting educators to reevaluate their grading methods.

➔Technology can offer benefits in assessment by providing support for generating questions and allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge in various ways. It can help reduce the limitations of traditional assessments.…Read More

EdTech Success in LAUSD

Los Angeles Unified School District usually gets a bad rap when it comes to the implementation of tech. There was a ransomware attack at the beginning of school in 2022. Then there was the $95 million payroll system snafu back in 2008. And who can forget the $1.3 Billion iPad Fiasco in 2015?

So it’s great to hear some good news coming out of the district. It was even greater to hear it from industry veteran, Elliott Levine, Qualcomm’s Director of Worldwide Education, the company that commissioned the research from Project Tomorrow, and who always provides a great interview. Click through to listen for some big-picture analysis of the survey results you can scroll below:

Project Tomorrow recently released data on how connected digital learning devices have benefited families in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Commissioned by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., the survey was fielded to 3,000 parents in English and Spanish in May 2023.…Read More

5 things standing between K-12 schools and innovation

Sustaining and scaling innovation is one of the top hurdles K-12 district leaders face as they strive to bring new and bold ideas to education, according to a new CoSN report.

Hurdles are more than just “pesky obstacles” to innovation, the authors note in Driving K-12 Innovation: 2019 Hurdles. These challenges slow down progress and force educators to make sure they’re prepared for the leap to innovation.

The report is the first of three in a series focusing on hurdles, accelerators, and tech enablers that spur K-12 innovation. The series, which will culminate in a toolkit to inform strategic planning and tech integration, honors the legacy of the Horizon K-12 reports.…Read More

10 conversations about digital equity

Educators universally agree that equity should be one of the top priorities in every school and in every district across the country.

Addressing equity issues is more difficult for some districts than others due to factors such as funding, parental involvement, and policy.

According to new Speak Up data from Project Tomorrow, 43 percent of school site administrators say implementing digital content is an effective tool for ensuring equity across classrooms, throughout the school, and within their district. A majority of school principals say instruction in their classrooms regularly includes digital games, online textbooks, and online videos, animations and simulations.…Read More

5 things districts are doing to close the homework gap

Despite a brighter spotlight on digital equity, gaps still remain, including the troubling and persistent homework gap–but a newly-relaunched digital equity toolkit aims to highlight the important work districts across the nation are taking to address equity differences.

The 2014 E-rate modernization helped a majority of schools meet the FCC’s short-term connectivity goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students, according to CoSN’s relaunched Digital Equity Initiative toolkit. But because classroom use of technology and digital resources is growing, a gap has continued to grow between students who have internet access at home and those who do not.

Because it tends to impact low-income and rural students harder than others, the homework gap can intensify other income or access issues these students and their families face. And even if a family has internet access, students don’t necessarily have access to a device–or the right device–with a large enough screen or enough data to complete homework.…Read More

3 steps we’re taking to ensure true digital equity

Across the nation, school districts are investing in one-to-one computing programs and supplying digital devices for their students to use as learning tools. While these tools can be very empowering, giving each child a device isn’t enough to close the digital opportunity gap that exists between students of varying economic means.

This issue is near to our hearts in the Manor Independent School District in Texas. We’re a very diverse community, with a significant population of economically disadvantaged students. About 73 percent of our nearly 9,000 students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and 36 percent are bilingual or speak English as a second language. We want to make sure all of our students, even those from the poorest homes, can contribute to our digital future.

Over the last few years, we’ve built a very strong technology infrastructure to prepare our district for a digital transformation. We have a fiber network connecting our 13 schools. We have a one-to-one initiative in our high schools, and we’re looking to extend that opportunity to our middle and elementary schools as well.…Read More

Most districts are doing nothing about the homework gap; a few are making a big difference

3 out of 4 districts have little plan for providing off-campus internet. But there are solutions, and some districts are leading the charge

The growing ubiquity of internet access and pervasive use of online information has changed the learning landscape forever. Students continue to benefit from enhanced connectivity throughout the formal school day thanks to a $1.5 billion increase in E-rate funding over the last 18 months. However, demand and expectations for learning outside of the school day are on the rise — and there are still many students struggling to complete homework online.

It is estimated that 5 million households with school-age children do not have high-speed internet service at home. Low-income households, especially Black and Hispanic households, make up a disproportionate share of that 5 million.[1] The under-connection of low-income families is a real issue. Clearly, there is a great deal of work that needs to be done to narrow the inequitable homework gap.

This issue constitutes a new civil right; the right to digital equity; the right to connect to needed resources — anywhere, anytime. This is a civil right that cannot be achieved by school leaders alone. A holistic approach will ensure that school-aged children aren’t reduced to little or no access. It calls for community leadership — connected and collaborative leadership.…Read More