Karen Cator: One Thing We Must Do Now
April 7, 2020
What is one thing you believe must be done now to improve how children and families are faring during the current crisis, specifically as it relates to the media and technology in their lives?
Close the homework gap—Internet access is a right!
Karen Cator is President and CEO of Digital Promise, before which she served as Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education.
Every day, the inequities that exist between students, teachers, communities, and families are amplified. We have been talking about the homework gap, defined as the lack of internet access for the purpose of completing homework, for over five years. Now, the daily experience of education is “homework” for millions of students.
As districts across the country move quickly so students can continue learning from home, maintaining focus on how technology can best support learning is critical. For example, using the internet to find resources, experts, videos, data sets, books to read, music, and so much more, is empowering. Being able to connect, collaborate, and get support from teachers, peers, and others contributes to our social and emotional health. Internet access should be a right, and we need to recognize it as an essential utility. We need coordination from experts, rule-makers and policymakers, internet providers, and technology companies to create access to digital learning for every student. More equitable opportunities and outcomes in this most difficult of circumstances will follow.
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