When we talk about the digital divide in education, the discussions revolve mainly around two factors: lack of access to the internet and lack of knowing how to use that access in powerful ways that can fuel learning beyond consuming content.
There are a lot of powerful tools for change available to educators and plenty of creative, inspired educators working hard to put available technology to work in classrooms. A lack of excellence is not the problem in education; access to technology and guidance for participating in the digital space in powerful ways are much bigger challenges.
That is the message Karen Cator, president and CEO of Digital Promise and former head of the Office of Technology at the US Department of Education, is spreading around the country. “When we think about students who do not have access to these kinds of powered-up learning environments, that’s a problem,” Cator said at a presentation sponsored by SVForum, a non-profit that organizes ed-tech events. From Cator’s perspective, the digital learning gap can be broken down into three parts: access, participation and powerful use.