Expanding broadband in every school will mean that students will benefit from higher standards and the assessments that go with them, along with a new generation of learning technologies—without barriers of wealth and geography.
Bridging a New Digital Divide
Bandwidth is only the first challenge we must face in making technology a tool for equity. We also must commit, together, to make new technologies a force that lifts all students. It is no secret that affluent families will use their wealth to put the best learning tools in their kids' hands. And studies have demonstrated that parents in more affluent communities tend to more closely supervise their children's technology use—resulting in greater learning. The troubling possibility is that the digital-learning revolution could thus simply widen the opportunity gap between students who attend poorer and wealthier schools. For technology with such exciting, barrier-breaking possibilities, that would be a tragedy.
It is up to schools, districts, parents and technologists to figure out how to balance this equation—to make sure that teachers, especially in low-income communities, have access to cutting-edge technology and good guidance about how to choose tools that will work well for their students.
Classrooms such as Kristie Ford's in Detroit have demonstrated what is possible. It is up to the rest of us to learn from her.
This article was originally published with the title Why We Need High-Speed Schools.