Balancing the Digital Divide

Balancing the Digital Divide
During a field trip about a decade ago, Katherine Bueler stopped her science students beside a duck pond to soak in the spring afternoon. She broke out a Frisbee and asked who wanted to play. None of them did, instead turning their eyes down to their cellphones.

“It was disappointing and kind of freaky,” Bueler says. “It was one of those early moments where I realized, whoa, this is different.”

She teaches eighth-grade science at El Camino Real, an early beneficiary of the Education Technology Note property tax that has funded the Santa Fe Public Schools Digital Learning Plan, and saw some of that same infatuation when iPads entered her classroom. With them came a flexibility in teaching, working with students and allowing them to find new ways to engage with the material. She’s already experienced success with a student who struggled to succeed in class, but who found an app that lets you create planets and stars and see how they interact with one another, and in the ability to use programs through Google Classroom to provide feedback on student work as its written.

“[Technology] is jumping over hurdles that public school teachers face and giving us access to resources that wealthier families and schools take for granted, because we can get at some version of them in a virtual form, even if we can’t get at them in a concrete form,” she says. “It’s giving our kids access to a wider range of experiences than…
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