by TeachThought Staff
For all of its potential, education technology suffers from a flaw that public education has struggled with since its inception–equity. However you want to phrase it or refract it as an issue, the bottom line is that some people have more than others, and that creates gaps. Lots of them.
So we thought an over-generalizing and necessarily reductionist post that takes a swing at a timeless and painful theme that has more to do with social justice than teaching may be a good way to get this week started.
7 Strategies To Support Students Who Can’t Afford Technology
1. Write a grant proposal to purchase inexpensive technology
Grants take a special kind of personality to obtain. Some people just have a knack for finding, picking, applying, and qualifying for them–so much paperwork, bureaucracy, minutiae, and tedium. But if the technology you’re seeking is beyond the reach of your average book drive or bake sale, this might be the only way.
And there’s power here, too. Play your cards right, and you could end up with a completely overhauled classroom.
2. Ask local businesses to sponsor a classroom or club
Someone with enough money to help, but that is locally-owned would be ideal. Smaller banks can be useful here.
3. Solicit donated used electronic equipment through drives or related campaigns
Ask parents or the community to donate old technology. Ask Best Buy or some giant chain to support what you’re trying to do. Email us and we’ll share it via twitter to see if anyone out there can help. There are ways!
4. Purchase used, inexpensive gadgets and offer them as prizes for academic success
Even if craiglist or eBay aren’t your thing, you can get brand new Android smartphones for $50, and used for even less. No that money doesn’t have to come out of your pocket, but, well–that’s what district budgets and grants are for.
You could have a classroom set of used smartphones for less than $1000 if you’re resourceful enough.
5. Have students brainstorm ideas to help solve this issue themselves
Speaking of resourceful, students may or may not have “good ideas” to help here, but empowering them to try to address the issue on their own can be powerful, especially for older students. Being resourceful is an important “soft skill,” and requires practice, no?
6. Crowdsource it
Donorschoose, kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other platforms can help you socialize the needs of your classroom.
7. Design learning experiences where they don’t feel left out without it
If all else fails, design learning experiences where the students that have access can use it, and the ones without it don’t feel like outcasts.
This isn’t easy but it can be done through grouping strategies, after school use of school technology, or ensuring that the non-technology roles that the tech-less students have are even more compelling than everyone else’s.
5 Strategies To Support Students Who Can’t Afford Technology; image attribution flickr user karlisdambrans