A look into low income schools and technology use

Spinning off some of the questions I proposed last time, I wanted to look into how low income schools provide and use technology. After some research, I found an article on the Encompass Academy in Oakland California that really showed some innovative ways to get around the lack of money when it comes to technology. They really budgeted and bought desktops since they are more durable than laptops and tablets. My favorite thing about the article was that a company had donated tablets for the kindergarteners, and I believe that they were able to take these home and use them there as well. This solution could potentially fix the barrier of people not having access to technology if the kids are physically able to take the tablet home. Even better, the school specifically talked about how they wanted to get the parents involved, and they even offered lessons to help the parents learn how to utilize the tablet efficiently. Because most of the population’s first language isn’t English, this technology is actually able to bridge the language barrier gap by having many apps and programs for translation. This means that parents are actually able to understand their kid’s homework, and they can help them out more.

With this article in mind, I wanted to think of things that other schools could learn from this example. First, I feel that it’s really important to try to make contact with companies that can donate products such as tablets and computers. These gestures are really useful to the students and improve learning tremendously. Second, low income schools are often the schools that need these technologies the most. These students may need supplementary help to reinforce what they learned in an oversized classroom with a teacher as a limited resource. Third, I feel that this school was spot on with getting the parental involvement. I know that my topic is about parents and teachers connecting, but the fact that they used this technology to bond with the parents is brilliant. The tool or tablet then is able to provide so much more for the student than apps and the internet; it’s able to provide an engaged and understanding household. I know that what this school has done was a difficult task, and ultimately they were lucky to find resources that were willing to donate tools, but I feel that the real example is what they were able to do with these resources and how they truly used them to the fullest.

I think for my next post I want to continue to look into school systems and how they budget technology. I may also dabble into government assistance and how that may help low income families gain access to technology.

Article referenced above:

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/09/10-essential-tips-for-meeting-tech-needs-of-low-income-schools/

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