Flipping Tip: Crossing the digital divide

"Technology alone is not enough..." Steve Jobs

Steve JobsI love that quote because it reminds me that imagination and common sense are two of our most important problem solving skills. Perhaps we can use them to help resolve the issues Chelsea Clinton describes in America's Dangerous Tech Gaps?

Internet access and bandwidth are just one area of concern. South Dakota's public schools were connected to the Internet several years ago and the technical gurus in my district are well satisfied with the bandwidth provided. If your school is not so fortunate I suggest contacting your local Internet Service Providers. Providing schools with stellar service is in their best interest because they are full of potential customers. Children do grow into subscribers someday and are likely to use the ISP (Internet Service Provider) they are most accustomed to.

Another issue is having enough computing devices for children to use.

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One solution is to extend school hours so students can access the school's computers like Greg Greg did at Clintondale High School. You will need to enlist help from the staff to monitor the students afterhours but you can spread the duty out so no one person has more than their share. Besides this gives kids a postive alternative in afterschool activities.

A prominent Superintendent recently suggested he might be considering a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) policy in his district. This is a wonderful idea because it allows students to use the technology they are most familiar with but not every student has a laptop, tablet, or smartphone at his or her disposal. However, this prolicy reduces a district's hardware expenditure and some of the savings can be used to buy devices for students who need it. It also alleviates the school from many issues of service, replacement, and support issues as families are naturally responsible for their own equipment.

If you employ BYOT (also known as Bring Your Own Device) make sure you select HTML5 compliant software to ensure compatibility accross devices. The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) created this industry standard for just this purpose. Make sure all of the software you purchase meets this standard.  

Any material you create with Apple software such as iBooks Author, Keynote, Pages, GarageBand, and iMovie is HTML5 compliant.


Clinton, Chelsea. America's Dangerous Tech Gap. The Daily Beast, Sept. 24, 2012http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/24/america-s-dangerous-tec...


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Dr. Winegar is available to help your organization wisely use technology. Email him directly at mark.winegar@mac.com or visit www.facebook.com/MobileLearningStudio.