Stemming Digital Inequality: A Wish

It is not surprising that there are digital inequities running rampant in our world, nation, and even on down to the local level.

Even at the private Catholic school I currently teach at, it is a mad dash to try to even be close to the same page when it comes to recent technology, and that is within the last five to eight years. Thanks to some donors, we have been able to make great strides in some hardware for instruction, and our internet is improving. But more must be done.

Check out my digital inequality plan for Oregon (if $50 million or less was available: http://prezi.com/wbjf3ma3ftf8/digital-inequalitycary-l-tyler-ed-tech-501/)

I come from a school district where millions were spent on new computers and hardware, as well as networking capability (although the teachers who have had salary freezes for the past two to three years would love to have seen some of that go in other directions).

What I discovered in preparing this project is, thanks to technological innovations and the recent Chromebooks movement, some of the digital inequalities in rural and urban settings can be minimized without a huge outflow of cash.

However, based on my years of teaching, it is not surprising that there is a inequality. The mid to upper class districts will always have huge infusions of money. Older schools or tax-poor schools will have a hard time catching up simply because the spending $500 per iPad for 10,000 plus students is hard to stomach when teachers are fired, textbooks are ten or more years old, or buildings have holes in their roofs.

The Department of Education initiatives are interesting, but half the time I was watching that video, I kept wondering “where is the money going to come from?” The Race to the Top initiative has raised almost as many eyebrows as the No Child Left Behind controversy (hear one of these controversies from New Hampshire Public Radio in February of this year).

So, in an era of tight budgets, it is refreshing that the internet and the means to access it can be acquired for much lower costs than in previous years. Let’s hope that districts take these steps similar to what I proposed in my dream hat.

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