How Can You Assess the Tech Needs of Your Students Outside of School?
Today, I received an email from the middle school principal in Los Angeles. She explained to me that the school that she ran was in one of the roughest and poorest areas of South Central LA. Because of this, many of her students did not have access to tech devices or internet connectivity outside of school.
She planned to apply for funding from several foundations and governmental organizations in the hope that she could secure monies to help expand her student’s access to tech. She emailed me because she needed to find out the extent of the problem and asked if I had a viable solution.
I explained to her that CoSN (The Consortium for School Networking) recently published an Out of School Connectivity survey. A PDF of the survey can be accessed via the following link.
The survey was created to allow school districts to uncover and profile the challenges with access to tech devices and internet connectivity that students and their parents experience outside of the school building. It can be customized to meet the needs of your school district.
One of the things that I love about this survey is that it has sections for students and parents. This is wonderful because you can send a modified paper version of the survey home and ask students to fill it out with their parents. The resulting data can be analyzed and used to create initiatives that address the afterschool tech and connectivity needs of students and their parents.
If funding is an issue, I am sure there are plenty of tech companies that will donate devices and internet connectivity resources to your school district. As we all know, digital equity is one of those hot button issues that tech companies are especially interested in funding.
By addressing the tech needs of our students, we can move towards a world where education has been democratized, and everyone has an opportunity to go after their dreams.