This is a city where the incoming city CIO said he was surprised to find a museum’s worth of mainframes running the city’s IT. This is a city — like many — where teachers are handed technology, but never given the pd needed to understand how to use it. This is a city where we have food deserts, wireless deserts, and computer hardware deserts — not surprisingly, those three tend to go hand-in-hand.
DHF’s EdTech Fellows work in schools throughout the city. Some of their schools have iPads and Apple TVs. Others, as fellow Jermaine Elliott points out starkly, have considerably less:
Two weeks ago, my school’s administration told us that there would be a surprise for the entire staff! I crossed my fingers for more technology at our STEM school, especially the middle school floor, but that never happened. Instead, we received a bag of supplies (paper, scissors, glue, markers, etc.).
Another teacher told me recently that his principal had banned teachers from using Donors Choose to crowdfund needed tech resources because having to do so “made the school look bad”.
Think about that.
There is no single solution. There is no top-down strategy for dealing with systemic granular disparity.
So we need to go in and fix things on a school-by school, classroom-by-classroom basis. We need to look at individual schools and find out what they need — not just to meet some arbitrary level of hardware-equity, but to meet a level of tech-integration that connects learners to an engaged future.
We need parents involved. And we need red-tape lifted. We need the tech community and the local business community to say: “This is just not acceptable anymore.” And then we need the tech community and the local business community to actually help us do the work of fixing it rather than just throwing money at the wound.
We need to meet need where it is and help move stranded students to a safe harbor.
We’re doing what we can to bring tech to students no matter where they were born. But we need your help. We need resources, we need human-power, and we need a concerted effort of time offered by the community. Please get in touch and find out how you can be a part of the work we are doing at Digital Harbor Foundation.