Ensuring Equitable Digital Access in the Classroom

Here are 7 Ways You Can Celebrate Digital Learning Day → #DLDay | by McGraw  Hill | Inspired Ideas | MediumAs technology advances and becomes more integrated with our daily life, as educators, we need to consider the implications within our classroom. While technology provides wonderful opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge, apply 21st-century skills, and can create a more engaging environment, we need to acknowledge that technology continues to be a privilege not available to many students.


How to Address Digital Equity | Tech & Learning

This infograph by CoSN (Consortium for School Networking) shows that 42% of surveyed teachers reported that their students lacked sufficient access to technology outside of the classroom. Check out the full list of Digital Equity Initiative Toolkit here.

To tackle these issues CoSN suggests the following 5 steps for school systems:

  1. Partner with Community Organizations to Create "Homework Hotspots"
  2. Promote Low Cost Broadband Offerings
  3. Deploy Mobile Hotspot Programs
  4. Install Wifi on School Buses
  5. Build Private LTE Networks

But what can we do as educators to help bridge this gap on inequity within our classrooms?

Here are four simple things you can do right now to bring more digital equity to your classroom:

  1. Seek first to understand.
    - Survey your students at the beginning of the year to gain an understanding of your students' access to tech. Use that data to modify your instruction or assignments as needed. 
    - Once you’ve got a better idea of your students and parents’ access at home, find a consistent time before or after school where students can come in and use the technology available in the school—and allow their parents to join. 
  2. Try it out!
    - Make sure to try out any new technology yourself before asking students to utilize it. Provide opportunities, and grace, for students to learn how to work new technology.
    - Make efforts for students to develop their digital literacy skills and have opportunities to try it out. They may be familiar with apps like TikTok but cannot structure a Word document.
  3. Create a tech equity vision with your students.
    - Have open discussions with your students about technology and access to technology. This allows students an opportunity to talk about the positive and negative aspects of technology while also taking ownership of tech equity in the classroom.
  4. (Re)consider your homework policies.
    - Allow flexibility on homework that requires digital access. Many students may not have access at home to wifi, or they have to share a computer with multiple siblings.
    - Only 21% of those students without home access use public libraries to access the internet. Provide students and parents with a guide with basic information on nearby libraries’ locations, policies, and hours, as many students may not be aware of the community centers in close proximity to their homes.

For more related articles about digital equity in the classroom check out all of Edutopia's articles here. On how to teach students to be digital citizens check out Common Sense's videos here.


Equitable Digital Access Video

Digital Equity: Distance Learning Video

Digital Equity Strategies for K-12 Classrooms Video


Digital Equity: How Far Have We Come? | EdTech Magazine






  • Alliance for Excellent Education. (2019, May 29). Closing the gap: Digital equity strategies for the K-12 classroom. YouTube. https://youtu.be/S8kPAumWjYk
  • Alliance for Positive Youth. (2020, July 19). Digital equity challenges: Best practices for distance learning. YouTube. https://youtu.be/E4CXH5CigGE
  • Ed Tech. ( 2019, October 24). [Photo]. Ed Tech. https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/cdw_hero/public/articles/%5Bcdw_tech_site%3Afield_site_shortname%5D/201910/ET_Q419_Feature_Wong-HERO.jpg?itok=BTcXPKqF
  • Edutopia. (2011, October 27). Resources for closing the digital divide. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/digital-divide-technology-access-resources
  • Hwang, K. (2019, April 18). 4 ways to improve digital equity in your classroom. Common Sense Education. https://www.commonsense.org/education/articles/4-ways-to-improve-digital-equity-in-your-classroom
  • Justice, E. [ejustice28]. (2017, June 28). Digital divide. YouTube. youtu.be/RIetdzqaXuk
  • McGraw Hill. (2016, February 16). [Photograph]. McGraw Hill. https://miro.medium.com/max/1838/1*1VXa-l4M5OlUl_eTAZ1ciQ.jpeg
  • Tech and Learning Staff. (2018, September 27). How to address digital equity. Tech & Learning. https://www.techlearning.com/tl-advisor-blog/how-to-address-digital-equity
  • Tech and Learning Staff. (2018, September 27). [Photograph]. Tech & Learning. https://www.techlearning.com/tl-advisor-blog/how-to-address-digital-equity