Superintendents share their experiences with digital equity and offer insight into what their own districts will focus on next

With the COVID-19 pandemic has come a reckoning on how cavernous the digital equity gap is in the United States.

During an edWebinar sponsored by ClassLink and co-hosted by CoSN and AASA, three superintendents discussed their observations about digital equity and what their districts need to do next.

Dr. A. Katrise Perera, superintendent of Oregon’s Gresham-Barlow School District, Glenn Robbins, superintendent of Brigantine Public Schools in New Jersey, and Dr. Aaron Spence, superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, shared their insight:

1. All conversations start with “why”: Get all constituents involved from the beginning—including students and teachers—as to how the schools might adopt digital learning. Get them all to agree to the why before moving on to the what.

2. Familiarity does not equal experience or understanding: Just because staff have some knowledge about technology does not mean they understand how to scale it for effective digital learning. Embedded professional development is needed at all levels to take advantage of the benefits of tech for all students.

With the COVID-19 pandemic has come a reckoning on how cavernous the digital equity gap is in the United States.

During an edWebinar sponsored by ClassLink and co-hosted by CoSN and AASA, three superintendents discussed their observations about digital equity and what their districts need to do next.

Dr. A. Katrise Perera, superintendent of Oregon’s Gresham-Barlow School District, Glenn Robbins, superintendent of Brigantine Public Schools in New Jersey, and Dr. Aaron Spence, superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, shared their insight:

1. All conversations start with “why”: Get all constituents involved from the beginning—including students and teachers—as to how the schools might adopt digital learning. Get them all to agree to the why before moving on to the what.

2. Familiarity does not equal experience or understanding: Just because staff have some knowledge about technology does not mean they understand how to scale it for effective digital learning. Embedded professional development is needed at all levels to take advantage of the benefits of tech for all students.

3. Smartphones don’t equal home access: Students may have a phone, but that doesn’t mean they have home WiFi, unlimited data, or live in an area with a strong signal. Administrators need to have a detailed home survey for every student to understand how to serve them.

4. Teachers have access issues too: Not all teachers have high-speed internet or unlimited data either. Schools may need to adjust expectations for them just as they should for their students.

5. Skeptics don’t need words—they need proof: In every community, there will be parents, grandparents, teachers, etc., who don’t think digital has value. The best way to convince them of the value is to demonstrate how it’s working to improve student outcomes. Once you show them what it can look like, they get excited and can even be some of your biggest supporters.

6. Everyone needs to be a digital learner in the home: It’s not just the students who need to understand how to use the technology—parents, grandparents, babysitters, siblings, etc. could be helping the students and need to have that knowledge as well.

7. Monitor what’s being used, how often, and the results: Figure out which platforms best support your families and staff and track when they’re using the program. Adjust access and support accordingly.

8. Ask for help: Talk to other school leaders about their challenges and how they approached them. While the exact details may differ, they’re experiencing many of the same obstacles—no one needs to do this alone.
source: Read More, eSchool News

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