“Model and promote strategies for achieving equitable access to digital tools and resources and technology-related best practices for all students and teachers” – ISTE Coaching Indicator 5a
In order to exercise digital citizenship, one must first be a digital citizen. Equitable access to digital tools and resources, the indicators for standard 5a, are indeed essential to this end. However one of the biggest lessons I learned in my Digital Education Leadership program, it is that it is not merely physical access to the digital resources, but also the proper support and instruction in their use that really defines what is meant by “equitable access.” My post, Digital Citizenship and the New Digital Divide, explores this concept in detail. I particularly appreciate Mark Warschauer’s critique of the “magic bullet” theory, too often adopted by schools, that it is merely greater physical access which will bring about the desired educational results. To truly create equality in technology, the “social envelope” that accompanies the the physical technology must be considered as well. It is this part of establishing equitable access that can be so illusive and so difficult. A vision for how technology is going to be used must be created, teacher support and training must be developed, effective pedagogical practices for digital education must be implemented, and other pieces like tech support and network infrastructure must be in place if technology is really going to be equal for all students. As a digital education leader, I see this definition of equitable access not only as a challenge, but also as the raison d’être for the entire Digital Education Leadership Program and my involvement in it.
Warschauer, Mark (2012). “The Digital Divide and Social Inclusion.” Americas Quarterly. Retrieved from http://www.americasquarterly.org/warschauer