Some of life’s best lessons are learned in the worst of times.  ~Ani DeFranco

If there ever was a time for innovation and implementation of new technology tools and hardware, this past year takes first place.  From providing devices to students to ensuring that families had access to the internet at home, the past year has been a whirlwind of exciting and tireless work for many of us.  While many of us crave the opportunity to “return to normal,” we have learned a lot this past year and have begun good work to close the digital divide.  As part of any good change process, we must reflect on the changes that we’ve made and the impact those changes have had on our students and families to continue to improve upon the digital equity that we are striving towards.
With July in the review mirror and final summer plans concluding on our calendars, the start to another school year will be here before we know it.  As much as we might want to start fresh with a return to normal operations and move quickly away from the last school year, it is crucial to reflect with an eye on the pandemic’s opportunities. Especially those that helped us to serve all students better.
Taking the time now to reflect and inventory the policies and practices you implemented during the pandemic and giving thought to how those practices supported the needs of students, teachers, and the community will help you build a more equitable learning experience for your students.  In addition, setting aside time with your leadership team to look holistically at the learning experience you provided to your students in 2020-21 and have conversations using the questions below as a starting point will help prepare your district or school for the upcoming year.
Reflection questions to consider:
  • What practices or policies did you implement this year will you keep as you move forward?
  • Why are these practices or policies important to maintain? (Do they relate to our mission or vision?  Did they help us communicate better with our families?  Did they provide more significant opportunities for access?) 
  • What practices did we implement last year that we want to continue but need additional improvement?  (What information or data do we have that can help us see the need to improve?)
More specifically, as we think about digital equity, consider these questions:
  1. What policies or practices did you implement this year that supported digital equity?
  2. What was the impact of those policies or changes to practice? 
  3. What areas still need improvement? (What data do we have that tells us this?)

Author: Nancy Magnum

CoSN Subject Matter Expert: Digital Equity
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