Digital Inclusion and Information Equity
We want all students to develop knowledge, skills and dispositions they need to be life-long learners and successful, engaged citizens in a diverse society, global society. Developing digital citizenship and using technology in meaningful ways are essential to achieving our purpose and aspirations if we truly believe that all students must be prepared for and flourish in learning and life.
When we have high expectations and believe in all students, we create a culture of inclusivity, equity and accountability for learning. However a digital divide exists. Some students and families have access to information and technology while others do not, thus we advocate for digital inclusion and information equity.
Begin with a Vision
We know that simply adding technology does not change the quality of student learning experiences. We must begin by developing a shared vision for 21st century learning, teaching and leading. As we intentionally integrate technology we are engaging students, preparing students for our diverse global society, supporting standards, and building on creative and thinking processes. This puts our equity value into daily practice!
Equipping each student a device – whether it is a computer, iPad, Kindle or smart phone – is often called a 1:1 initiative referring to one device for every student. These 1:1 initiatives often end up being about the “things” rather than the vision. We need to think of this as a 1:World initiative. This causes us to focus on why we are making the investment rather than on what we are purchasing. Using technology, we can fundamentally change the way we learn, teach and lead. We must enter with a purpose to increase the “4 C’s” of 21st century learning – critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. In doing so, technology becomes integral to the curriculum rather than just another initiative.
Take an Instructional Approach
When we approach the 1:World initiative with the intent of improving learning – inside and outside the classroom as we develop life-long learners and global citizens – our areas of focus for implementation shift. We move from technical training to understanding how to design authentic, meaningful learning opportunities. We rethink engagement to include others in our class, school, community and world! We engage with families in new ways and empower students to take responsibility for monitoring their progress. We broaden contexts beyond classroom walls to real-world situations that draw on 24/7 information, collaboration and support. We expand instruction from content to include digital citizenship and cultural competency.
Our ultimate question is not “What technology should we buy?” rather “How do we promote student learning and a culture of thinking through the use of devices and information that further prepare students to be active, constructive participants in the highly connected world in which they live, learn and will soon work?”