Equitable Access for Shared Learning and Community Engagement

My original question and value of interest centered on the idea of equitable ownership of data and information when developed through collaborative means. However, my focus kept bringing me back to the broader subject of “digital equity”, and I reflected on whether I was more interested in data or information. What I discovered is that I am more interested in the need to give students equitable access to digital education, and in turn, credit them equitably for the work they generate through that access. As I expressed in my original question, as students and teachers examine and explore strategies of social justice, they need to work collaboratively and intimately with digital tools. They need to have equitable access to digital tools for purposes of research and shared learning, and to understand what tools and strategies work best for student learning, and effective community engagement.

In this module, we reflected on the readings of Paul Resta and Thérèse Laferrière in their piece, Digital Equity and Intercultural Education. As it relates to digital equity in addressing social justice, Resta and Laferrière note that, “Digital equity and intercultural education both share the goal of promoting opportunity for all people. Digital equity refers to the social-justice goal of ensuring that everyone has equal access to technology tools, computers and the Internet, as well as the knowledge and skills to use these resources to enhance their personal lives”.

As it relates to the need for equitable access to digital tools for the purpose of research, shared learning, and effective community engagement, Resta and Laferrière go on to state that, “Traditional intercultural education, with its focus on educational issues concerning communities and their diversities, does not refer explicitly to technology, let alone digital technologies. However, as individual and classrooms get access to the Internet and its tools and resources, opportunities for intercultural education arise. In many instances, they may fail to take advantage of the technology affordances, and social support/educational action is likely to be needed”.

According to a 2022 blog titled, Path To Digital Equity: Why We Need to Address the Digital Divide with Solutions Around Adoption, shared through the nonprofit organization, Digital Promise, author Sierra Nokes writes that “today, it’s estimated that nearly 16 million students have neither adequate internet connection nor access to devices at home. Technical approaches, such as distributing devices and subsidizing internet subscriptions, are essential components to the solution. However, these approaches on their own will not solve the human-level challenges individuals and communities face daily”. Nokes goes on to note that in consideration of these concerns, a partnership was established between the Office of Educational Technology (OET) at the US Department of Education and the nonprofit organization, Digital Promise. This partnership created a new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. According to Nokes, through this partnership and BIL, their research reflected that awareness and understanding of available programs and resources is critical; access to available programs and resources can be challenging; trust between learner communities and services is essential; and building digital readiness and digital literacy among learners and communities best supports adoption.

When reviewing the student perspective shared around inequity in the classroom beyond just that of access to computers and the internet, I can understand the need to focus on multiple perspectives as we aim to align with the ISTE Standard 7a. ISTE Standard 7a reads, to “inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities”. We need students to have equitable access to hardware and software, but we also need to be sure that we are involving students in the identification and selected use of technology for learning purposes. This inclusion means awareness and understanding of available programs so that students will have greater insight into knowledge gained, and how to use that knowledge to advance social justice in their community.


Nokes, Sierra (2022). Path To Digital Equity: Why We Need to Address the Digital Divide with Solutions Around Adoption. Digital Promise. https://digitalpromise.org/2022/04/07/path-to-digital-equity-why-we-need-to-address-the-digital-divide-with-solutions-around-adoption/

Resta, Paul and Laferrière, Thérèse (2015). “Digital Equity and Intercultural Education,” Education and Information Technologies.

Comments are closed.