Monday, October 3, 2016

Edcamp/Ed Tech and the Digital Divide

Edcamp Arkansas brought pre-service teachers together with current teachers and college professors for the third year. The collaboration between fresh young minds yearning for a teaching position and current teachers with advice to share creates a lively atmosphere. The vision of the Edcamp Foundation is "to provide an innovative form of professional development for educators to improve job satisfaction, increase workforce retention, and impact student learning."

In rural states, the digital divide is not only between rich and poor, but according to Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center, the divide is also between urban, suburban, and rural communities. Our Edcamp this year brought up the digital divide as participants began to talk about the various schools and the differing access to student devices.  59% of Arkansan's live in areas without access to broadband. In 2015, Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson, together with the Arkansas Department of Education, and the Department of Information Systems set a goal for 100 percent of K-12 public schools in Arkansas to have 200 Kbps/student of highly secure, E-rate eligible, state funded, high-speed broadband connectivity. Lofty goals indeed. The issue for Edcamp participants was more about access to devices. Some schools are better than 1-1, some schools have Chromecarts that move throughout the school, and some rural schools still have access only to computer labs. It is this digital divide that separates schools and students from the Edtech explosion.  The upside of Edcamp is that teachers shared FREE ed tech that any teacher could use

Some of the amazing free ed tech shared at Edcamp Arkansas included:

Join the Edcamp movement and attend a camp near you!

Suzanne Rogers, M.Ed
District Director of Professional development, AP English Teacher, ELA Coach and cradle United Methodist.

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