June 1, 2020

Student & Teacher EdTech Use Shows Exponential Expansion of Digital Divide, Worse for Higher Poverty, Higher Minority Districts

Student & Teacher EdTech Use Shows Exponential Expansion of Digital Divide, Worse for Higher Poverty, Higher Minority Districts

New analysis from LearnPlatform quantifies the impact of access and engagement on growing digital learning equity gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic

LearnPlatform, the comprehensive edtech effectiveness system, released The Exponential Growth of the Digital Divide – a new analysis of student and teacher use of K-12 edtech tools across a cross-section of U.S. school districts since the transition to remote instruction began on March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report introduces a new approach to quantifying the impact of the digital divide as a function of both access to internet-enabled devices and the level of engagement with digital learning resources. The analysis spotlights the exponential growth of gaps in digital learning over the last 2 months, particularly between higher poverty and higher minority districts and their more affluent peers.

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The new approach to measuring the equity gap presented in the report connects access to, and engagement with, digital learning resources with the impact on student learning outcomes. This digital learning equity gap is calculated by combining the gap in access to the level of per student engagement with digital learning materials. This is then adjusted by an “impact factor” that relates student engagement with projected learning outcomes based on an analysis of hundreds of rapid-cycle evaluations conducted by districts on LearnPlatform.

“During COVID-19, many have focused on the important issue of students’ access to digital devices and internet connectivity; however, educators know that access is necessary, but not sufficient to understand equity gaps when it comes to student learning,” said Karl Rectanus, CEO and co-founder of LearnPlatform. “Our team’s unique technology, tools and analysis provide a clear understanding of how access and engagement levels during remote learning are expanding digital learning gaps, particularly between higher and lower income students.”

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