Technology, the Digital Divide and the Achievement Gap: Policies and Practices That Equalize Student Access

White paper offers recommendations for schools and parents

DULLES, Va.--()--Technology in the classroom promises to be a great equalizer, but effective implementation must consider the socio-economic context of the school district and include programs and practices that facilitate universal student access, according to a white paper released today by NetRef, a leader in Internet management in schools. To ensure students become responsible digital citizens endowed with the cognitive and competitive skills they will need in the future, bridging the digital divide must be a central strategy in closing the achievement gap.

“This is particularly critical in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments.”

“When school leaders closely examine their school’s climate and culture, they can administer a tech program that benefits all students—not just those with access to high-quality tech outside the classroom,” said co-author George Dotterer, CEO and co-founder of Verite Educational Systems Inc. “This is particularly critical in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments.”

The Digital Divide in the Age of the Connected Classroom” includes the following recommendations for EdTech policies and practices:

  1. School districts must understand their socio-economic context and implement technology programs that students can access easily and equally.
  2. For a robust BYOD program, EdTech software must be compatible with a wide range of devices.
  3. To level the playing field in a BYOD classroom, schools must supply supplemental technology to underprivileged students.
  4. Libraries and schools should offer technology training for parents.
  5. Community leaders, parents, schools and EdTech providers must team up to ensure widespread access to devices and broadband connections in schools and beyond.

“Students deserve a first-rate education, regardless of their family’s financial situation,” added Dotterer. “Finding ways to make technology accessible across the board must be a goal for school districts nationwide. It is no longer a luxury; it is a 21st century necessity.”

Fourth in a series of white papers exploring the impact of and challenges surrounding technology in schools, the paper was co-authored by Andrew Hedges, Verite’s program manager, and Harrison Parker, director of K-12 Education.

Verite Educational Systems introduced NetRef, the first-ever Internet management tool that safeguards all web access points across a school's networks and on all imported devices, helping teachers maximize the web as an educational and collaborative learning tool. With seamless and simple integration, NetRef offers umbrella protection across all systems, hardware and devices—from 1:1 to BYOD environments—minimizes distractions and helps keep students on-task. NetRef does not require any installation on student devices.

Now operating in schools in eight states, NetRef allows schools to maximize their tech investment and teachers get their classrooms back. Visit NetRef online or follow @NetReferee.

Release Summary

White paper from EdTech start-up NetRef considers tech, the digital divide and the achievement gap while offering 5 recommendations for equalizing student access.

Verite Educational Systems Inc.