Why is digital equity necessary for social-emotional learning?
Digital equity supports social-emotional learning because there is no real SEL without equity. An important thing to remember when talking about digital fairness is that fairness does not mean that everyone is treated the same; equity means everyone gets what they need to prosper. Equity also means that districts love and support all of their students unconditionally and provide, within their ability, all of the opportunities that students need to succeed. If districts are unable to provide this internally, they seek the knowledge and opportunities to bring this to their faculty and staff.
For academics, SEL is most effective when educators evaluate their lessons and the technology used to teach them. K-12 IT leaders should consider the different types of technology resources and different types of media they want students to use and consider whether any of them might unintentionally harm learners.
For example, if a teacher is sharing a resource on the demographics of a neighborhood, city, or school in the classroom, it’s worth considering why those demographics are the way they are. . Have there been issues with redlining, financial oversight, or population migration in the region? This can influence the demographics of the area, which should be explored with students as they research and discuss this topic. This can be another area where educational technology can be extremely helpful: students can dig deeper into the factors that have had an impact on this.
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Districts providing resources should ensure that the tools and media represent their students and what they want to present to their students. At the same time, when investing in these resources, district leaders should consider what they want students to learn from having these tools and media and whether they will help students articulate what happened. passed in a given class. This is an occasion where professional development at the administrative level can be particularly useful. District leaders can provide teachers with training and opportunities to familiarize themselves with different types of tools so that teachers, coaches, and students can use them during the school year.
How can schools move towards digital equity?
Because SEL is so dependent on numerical equity, schools must first address any inequity before providing appropriate SEL. Digital equity is a complex and multi-faceted topic, but it comes down to student experiences. K-12 leaders should aim to provide the best and most equitable experiences for their students.
Giving children computers will not solve all their problems. In many cases, internet access and bandwidth are issues that prevent students from using technology and learning in a meaningful way. If students can’t use the technology they have, there’s no fairness.
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Another necessary element for digital equity is training. The importance of professional development for educators using the resources can be lost when districts aim to integrate new technologies. When educators are not trained to properly use new technologies, one of two outcomes is likely to occur.
In some cases, educators become frustrated when they don’t understand how to use resources. When they have trouble logging in or aren’t sure how to use the assignment tools, rather than spending extra time and energy learning, they can choose not to use this technology.