digital divide

This learning style is creating a new digital divide in the U.S.

Blended, online learning is giving only students in some states the advantage they need

learning-online-divideEducation technology can enable achievement for students with a variety of learning styles. But it also creates a problem: For students who don’t have access to these forms of technology-enabled learning—bring-your-own-device, for instance—the digital divide grows. Now, as many states across the country begin to support multiple online and blended learning programs, states that still don’t support these learning styles are creating an alarming disadvantage for their students.

Perhaps one of the most definitive sources on the online and blended learning landscape in the U.S. today is “Keeping Pace with K-12 Online & Blended Learning,” a massive data report compiled by the Evergreen Education Group, a private consulting and advisory firm specializing in education and education technology.

The report provides a snapshot of the K-12 online and blended learning landscape across 50 states as of late 2013, and makes many forward-looking statements on the future of online and blended learning. One of those statements describes the new digital divide.

“For students, there is a substantial difference between going to school in a state committed to quality online and blended learning opportunities, and a state without,” emphasizes the report. “This difference is large and growing, and threatens to open a new educational digital divide: one separating students who have access to 21st century learning opportunities, and those who do not.”

The new digital divide is growing, notes the report, because the influence of online and blended learning has become so widespread in a number of innovative states.

(Next page: Facts you should know about online and blended learning in states)

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Meris Stansbury

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