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‘Learning Environments Will Not be Equitable' Until All Families Have Reliable Internet Access

‘Learning Environments Will Not be Equitable' Until All Families Have Reliable Internet Access

A new report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and Rutgers University indicates that in the 21st century, learning environments will never be equal until all families have equal internet access, says KQUED News.

The article says that “[k]ids who don’t have reliable Internet access at home (which includes the use of a laptop of desktop for connecting to the Internet) are 'less likely to go online to look up information about things that they are interested in,' according to the report.”

Mobile-only access, the report says, is not enough.

"A strong Internet connection at home allows kids to work on homework assignments, look up information and communicate with teachers and classmates more readily.”

This is particularly a challenge for schools because while the schools themselves can improve their connections, it’s hard to influence what is available at children’s homes.

"A combination of lack of services provided, hurdles in qualifying for discounts (such as having no missed payments), and a lack of awareness of discount programs” contribute to low-income families not being able to acquire Internet access.

"In some districts, schools have paid for families to have Internet at home so they wouldn’t have to rely on Wi-Fi at local businesses or stay on campus after hours to do homework. Having reliable Internet at home could mean more capacity to learn computer coding skills, stream video tutorials or take an online language coursse,” the article says.

But in many cash-strapped districts facing budget problems, paying for families to have Internet at home is not always economically feasible, further highlighting the nature of unequal learning environments distributed across the country. 

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

2/4/2016

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