In an era of blended and hybrid learning, the digital divide has become an ever-growing barrier to education for many pupils, especially those who are disadvantaged.
A survey conducted in autumn 2021 by Stone Group, Headteacher Update and SecEd found that the digital divide was one of the biggest barriers to the effective use of technology in schools (cited by 57% of respondents).
And there is a second front emerging in the fight to close the digital divide – that of digital competency and skills.
So what can schools realistically and usefully do to help their students and families who find themselves on the wrong side of the divide? This webinar sought to answer this complex question, and offered some practical solutions, examples, and advice for schools.
The webinar lasted one hour and took place on Thursday, April 28. Our expert guests were Dr Fiona Aubrey-Smith, associate lecturer at The Open University; Bukky Yusuf, senior leader at a special school in London; John Haslam, business development manager at Stone Group; Paul Haigh, headteacher at King Ecgbert School in Sheffield; and Sophie Powell, executive headteacher at The Compass Partnership of Schools.
The webinar asked key questions including:
- What issues are we still seeing in our communities with regards the digital divide?
- What are the main barriers to education/school with regards edtech-use?
- What can schools do practically to support families in the short-term?
- It’s not just devices – how can schools close digital skills gaps for students?
- What steps can schools take now to make a different to the digital divide?