The U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology (OET) hosted a National Digital Equity Summit this week at their headquarters in Washington, DC. Stakeholders from around the United States were invited to participate in this historic event aimed at sharing strategies to close the digital divide and enable technology-empowered learning. Leaders from the Department of Education were there to present, including Secretary of Education Miguel A. Cardona.
A recurring theme in the day’s discussions was the deepening digital divide for students who lack a connected learning device after school. Tremendous resources exist for students who are online, but those who are not connected are left out and left behind. Educational technology resources should be a great multiplier for education, not a divider. Secretary Cardona said it well when he asked attendees to imagine if one out of four students did not have a pencil, a book, or a reliable school bus. Digital connectivity is no longer a “nice to have”, it is a must have – and we owe it to our students, families, and communities to do all that we can to close the homework gap.
The OET has releases a study that offers in-depth strategies and approaches to address three pillars of the digital divide: (1) availability, (2) affordability, and (3) adoption. Please take time to read this report, and the other resources available through the Digital Equity Education Roundtables (DEER) initiative.