The lack of equitable access to technology isn’t a new problem. It’s an ongoing issue that has been amplified by an increase in distance learning during the pandemic. This digital divide affects many low-income children, and it needs to be addressed.
As the school year comes to an end, many low-income students will lose access to the technology they need to stay connected and take advantage of summer learning opportunities.
Equitable access to computers and other technology is a must to bridge socioeconomic gaps and support all students in learning the skills necessary to succeed in our increasingly digital world.
What Does It Mean To Have Equitable Access to Computers and Other Technology?
Equitable access means that all students have access to the technology and information they need — regardless of their socioeconomic status, location, age, physical ability, race, or other factors.
This involves more than making sure every student has a computer (although that’s a great place to start!). Equitable access also includes ensuring students have access to:
- Internet connectivity at home
- Sufficient bandwidth and connection speeds
- Technical support and/or instruction in the safe and productive use of computers and other devices
- Educators who know how to use technology to create quality learning experiences for all students, including those with special needs
Access to Technology Empowers Students and Enhances Learning
Technology has the potential to empower students, enhance their learning experiences, and increase career and other life opportunities.
Access to technology is crucial for students to take full advantage of the learning opportunities available to them. It is not only an important part of succeeding in school, it is fundamental to acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to become digitally literate. In this way, a lack of access to technology now can limit a student’s opportunities after they graduate.
Technology can empower students and improve their education — but only if all students have equitable access to that technology.
As the School Year Ends, Many Children Lose Access to Technology
For instance, Pew Research Center survey found that one-third of students from households with an annual income under $30,000 didn’t have a high-speed internet connection at home, compared with only 6% of students in households earning $75,000 a year or more.
In addition, some low-income students only have access to a smartphone with no data plan, while their wealthier peers have the use of multiple devices and high-speed internet access.
In many U.S. schools, students need sufficient access to technology to complete their assignments. Children who lack technological resources are at risk of falling behind in school and will struggle to learn the digital skills they need to succeed in their future careers.
And while public libraries with free access to computers and WiFi are an important part of the solution, it’s not enough. Children need access to these resources at home if they hope to keep up with their better-connected peers.
Providing equitable access to technology can help level the playing field for low-income students.
Refurbished Computers From Tech Discounts Can Be Part of the Solution
Refurbishing used computers is an important part of bridging this digital divide. Refurbished equipment is not only beneficial to the environment, it helps make technology more accessible to all students and their families.
Tech Discounts, in partnership with Tech Dump, offers low cost, reliable refurbished technology to our community through our retail locations and online store. We have the technology students need to stay connected and keep learning all year long. In need of more than one computer or need to buy in bulk? We also sell computers wholesale. Learn more here.