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However, while the benefits of moving some student homework to interactive, online platforms are clear, we can’t ignore the question of access.These programs can only work — and narrow, rather than widen, gaps — if all students have equitable access to digital resources.
At the same time, when we do see that technology can improve teaching and learning in a powerful way, we need to harness that power and make it available to all children.
Doing that, on a national scale, would truly be an equity game-changer.
The use of technology is growing in schools, but we’re missing critical opportunities if technology isn’t being used to close the pernicious achievement gaps between students of color and their white peers and between low-income students and their more affluent peers.
While we’ve seen limited, and not necessarily linear, progress on the race gap, the income-based achievement gap has been particularly stubborn, and research suggests it is widening between students from the poorest families and those from the highest-income households in the United States.
Nightly online homework, monitored by a teacher, may help to close achievement gaps.
Rather than hastily introducing educational technologies to schools, we should test new digital tools to ensure that they are effective and help all students.
The good news is that more organizations today are devoting efforts to giving underrepresented groups greater access than in the past, according to a new report by the State Educational Technology Directors Association.
The report highlights a number of steps that states are taking, including creating one-to-one laptop programs, increasing statewide broadband networks and making Wi-Fi hotspots more readily available.
Youth from low-income homes often lack access to reliable technology and the internet at home.
So giving out online assignments may require students without a computer or internet access at home to stay after school or visit a library to complete web-based assignments, which may not always be possible.