Whereas availability and affordability are often the focus of discussions around digital equity, new guidance from the US Department of Education emphasizes the importance of addressing adoption barriers as well. The report, Advancing Digital Equity for All, provides education leaders and policymakers at state and local levels with recommendations and strategies for removing barriers to availability, affordability, and adoption of broadband and connected devices.
In recent years, a great deal of work has gone into closing the digital divide, in terms of making sure that the internet and connected devices are available and affordable for students and their families. For example, some recommendations in the guidance, such as distributing hotspots to students and educators or offering subsidies to families, are already in place in school communities across the country. But an area that needs more attention is the adoption of those tools, according to the report. Adoption barriers include “the lack of information, support, and skills necessary to obtain regular, adequate access to reliable, high-speed broadband and technology tools.”
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For nearly two decades, leaders from some of the largest urban public school districts in the country have turned to Harvard University to learn the art and science of management to improve student performance. From raising math scores to reducing chronic absenteeism, the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) has served as a unique resource for the field, strengthening the management capacities of school leaders.