There is a technology gap between the demographics in our country. It is growing, and it is real, very real.
Some experts call it the Digital Divide or Technology Divide, others call it the Device Gap. Put it simply: lower income families have less access to technology and technology devices, and this is adding an extra layer of complexity when it comes to assessing the different routes and alternatives to take, in order to bring a family out of poverty and create a strong competitive society.
It matters, because the more productive and competitive a member of a society is, the greater the collective impact of their wellbeing and the wellbeing of the ones around them. It hurts US because if we don’t tackle the problem soon enough, we will keep perpetuating the cycle, we will keep falling behind in a stronger way, one that will become harder and harder to overcome.
Recently, I came across a wonderful article ( https://www.edsurge.com/news/2
018-02-28-5-ways-educators-can -help-families-make-better-use -of-tech-outside-the-classroom ) written by Michelle Sioson Hyman where it talks about the current situation of the device Gap in our country. The statistics are hard to believe, the article points out that “For students and classrooms, that divide can have a real impact. In a recent survey, 67 percent of teachers in transitional kindergarten through third grade say they have at least on one occasion not assigned homework that requires technology or digital media because they think their students do not have access at home—a percentage that increases in schools serving more low-income students.
We have seen this first hand when we are meeting with organizations and schools prior to the set-up of our technology incubators. Teachers sharing stories about how kids often finish their homework at a McDonald’s because they get free WiFi, using their parent’s cell phone because it is the only mobile device in the household. Parents in tears because they can’t afford technology (or don’t know how to).
In education, hardware can be as important as the software it runs. By placing purposeful technology in the hands of caregivers, teachers, and children, we will have the ability and the opportunity to complement school work, provided an in-depth approach to education, and even track and reward a child’s improvement. Our ultimate goal is to elevate the standards, competitiveness and comprehensive delivery of education beyond the walls of the classroom and into the lives of the kids and their families