- Identify factors related to digital access and issues that arise as a result.
- From digital access scenarios presented, determine appropriate and inappropriate responses.
- Evaluate their current learning environment (school) and develop strategies to reduce or eliminate inequalities of digital access for stakeholders
Digital Access overview
When planning for an activity or course, instructors and designers begin with determining learning objectives, and then tailor content and assessments that align. While this process is appropriate, it can also be incomplete. Somewhere during the planning of the course, the student's digital access should and must be considered. The best planning and content design will be for naught if students can not access it. Additionally, according to Ribble (2015), schools must consider digital access anytime policy or procedures relating to technology are created or changed. In the scenario Ribble presents, a school makes a decision to make all forms only available electronically. While their intentions may have been good (environmental, efficiency, cost savings, etc,) those without digital access are left disenfranchised. Whether it's for academic or policy reasons, digital access for stakeholders must always be considered since access to digital resources (hardware, software, connectivity, etc.) can often impact the effectiveness of the a technology policy, and the opportunities for a student to learn.
Connections to personal experience
My experience with digital access (or lack thereof) has occurred with this course we are taking now. One of the requirements for this course is to use a software called "Articulate". I had heard of it before and was excited about the opportunity to use it. Unfortunately, my burning desire to use Articulate was quickly extinguished when I discovered that it was only compatible with Windows computers. Being exclusively a Mac user, this quickly caused problems and required me to find access to a Windows computer that I could install software onto. Even though my work provides Windows computers, I have no admin rights and would not be permitted to install Articulate on any of them. After several attempts and workarounds to use a Windows machine, I was finally able to achieve access. While this example is not as dire as those that involve affordability or physical lack or access, it was a situation that could have affected my ability to meet this course's objectives.
Connections to field and/or discipline
As we discuss using certain digital tools, or accessing certain websites and services, you may encounter issues with students access. Keep these accessibility factors in mind when using instructional technology:
- The type of device students are using - avoid using software that has limited compatibility with operating systems (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, etc.)
- Student's access to a quality internet connection - Can they access from home, are there after hours lab times available?
- Costs - Are there costs associated with using certain software, apps, or web resources?
- Support - When students have problems, where do they go for help?
Producer Antonia Cereijido visits a middle school to learn what kinds of technology young Latinos have access to, and how it affects their lives. Students share their experiences about how they use digital tools, and the challenges they have accessing appropriate resources for school and personal purposes. While these may be younger students now, they will be the students we serve in higher education in the years to come.
March 25, 2015
March 25, 2015
Technology pioneer and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died Wednesday at age 56. Michel Martin and technology contributor Mario Armstrong look at Jobs' legacy and review tributes to him that have come from various social media platforms and all around the world. Specifically, what did his work with Apple do to change the access to the internet and digital tools? Think about these changes as they relate to access for higher education students.
October 6, 2011
October 6, 2011
Despite having one of the world's fastest internet connections through Google Fiber, Kansas City still grapples with what to do with all that speed, and how to provide it equitably to all citizens. Aaron Deacon of KC Digital Drive discusses the issue and strategies they are using to tackle these problems. As you plan online activities for your courses, do you consider the availability and speed of your students' internet connection?
March 9, 2015
March 9, 2015
Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society of Technology in Education.