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Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Why Digital Equity Matters

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Sunday, November 29, 12:45–1:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Desiree Alexander  
Darren Bell  
Patricia Brown  
Keri Hennessy-Wilson  
Matthew Hiefield  
Carla Jefferson  
Valerie Lewis  
Dr. Michael Mills  
Dr. Adam Phyall  

As we reimagine and further define digital equity, there's an increasing need for professional learning opportunities. We'll facilitate a dialogue about the multiple dimensions of digital equity with the goal of determining actionable steps for K-12 campuses.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Equity & inclusion
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
For Coaches:
Content Knowledge and Professional Growth
  • Regularly evaluate and reflect on their professional practice and dispositions to improve and strengthen their ability to effectively model and facilitate technology-enhanced learning experiences.
For Education Leaders:
Equity and Citizenship Advocate
  • Ensure all students have skilled teachers who actively use technology to meet student learning needs.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

According to Davis, Fuller, Jackson, Pittman, and Sweet (2007), digital equity is defined as “equal access and opportunity to digital tools, resources, and services to support an increase in digital knowledge, awareness, and skills.” Over the past decade, teachers and administrators continue to grapple with what this truly means for the K12 classroom. Additionally, they are seeking new ways to close the digital divide while attempting to adequately redefine the term “digital equity” as our population of students continue to change demographically. As we seek a clear and shared definition, we must re-imagine professional development to effectively prepare teachers for this work in the midst of rapid district adoptions of digital content.

Over the past few years, we have engaged ISTE conference attendees through rich discussions, ignites, and keynotes that have addressed diversity and digital equity; however, we realize that as our student population continues to grow and change so should the climate of the professional learning experience and how we support students. As the Digital Equity PLN, we feel that we can't simply talk about digital equity. We need action! To be most effective in our actions, we need opportunities to share perspectives and to engage in meaningful professional learning through a broad range of perspectives.

We hope to facilitate a dialogue in a space filled with all stakeholders while re-imagining “digital equity” in today’s landscape in order to push pass using this term as a buzzword only. During our time together, we will look at a wide range of professional learning opportunities, including several ISTE affiliates, and focus on what they are doing differently to clearly identify areas for personal and professional improvement. The goal is to determine the most effective ways in which we can support one another when doing work related to digital equity.

Evidence of success will be determine through the development of collaborative actionable steps and a post assessment about new learnings and new professional learning opportunities related to digital equity. A shared site with curated resources and additional goals and/or recommendations will also be made available for attendees. Although we have mentioned several key ideas to help determine success, we recognize that true success in this area evolves over time through an ongoing commitment to doing the necessary work to achieve digital equity for all.

The connection to "technology" here is about Davis’ definition for digital equity above; however, we are also focused on the bigger picture which is engaging the key stakeholders in a dialogue about necessary change. We may not close the digital equity gap one session (and that is not our intention), but we can all leave with new ideas and plans that enact authentic change beyond the buzz.


Attendees participate in a Google Slide's Live Q&A feature for the duration of this panel.

We will conduct a brief Q&A based on questions curated through our online communities on this topic. (5-10 minute)

We will then share short clips from community examples of “digital equity”. We will curate their "how" for the room to begin thinking about how to support others in this work. (10 minutes)

Another Short Q&A based on examples. (10 minutes)

Collaborative goal setting (in small groups) with a facilitator using an online tool. (15 minutes)

Reflection and determination of actionable steps. How might we hold one another accountable? (5-10 minutes)

Supporting research

ISTE DE PLN Medium Blog:

Becker, J. D. (2007). Digital Equity in Education: A Multilevel Examination of Differences in and Relationships between Computer Access, Computer Use and State-level Technology Policies. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 15(3), 1-36.

Davis, T., Fuller, M., Jackson, S., Pittman, J. & Sweet, J. (2007). A National Consideration of Digital Equity. International Society for Technology in Education.

Gorski, P. C. (2009). Insisting on Digital Equity: Reframing the Dominant Discourse on Multicultural Education and Technology. Urban Education, 44(3), 348-364.

Krueger, K. (2016). Digital Equity in School Communities. School Administrator, 73(4), 11.

Krueger, K., & James, J. (2017). Digital Equity: The Civil Rights Issue Of Our Time. Principal, 96(4), 12-16.

Price-Dennis, D. d., & Carrion, S. s. (2017). Leveraging Digital Literacies for Equity and Social Justice. Language Arts, 94(3), 190-195.

Smith, T. (2016). Digital Equity. Tech & Learning, 36(9), 32-38.

Warschauer, M., Knobel, M., & Stone, L. (2004). Technology and Equity in Schooling: Deconstructing the Digital Divide. Educational Policy, 18(4), 562-588.

More [+]


Dr. Desiree Alexander, Educator Alexander Consulting, LLC

Dr. Desiree Alexander is an award-winning, multi-degreed educator. She is Founder CEO of Educator Alexander Consulting, LLC. She holds various teaching, administrative and technology certifications, including IC3 certification, Google Certified Trainer & Innovator, Apple Teacher, and a Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer and Expert. She is a 2020 International Society for Technology in Education Featured Voice, 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference Featured Presenter, 2019 Customer Commitment Award Honoree from Better Business Bureau, 2017 Young Professional Initiative 40 Under 40 Awards Honoree, 2017 Center for Digital Education Top 30 Technologists, Transformers & Trailblazers among other honors. Learn more:

Darren Bell, Kajeet, Inc.
Patricia Brown, Ladue School District
ISTE Certified Educator
Keri Hennessy-Wilson, Asbury Park High School
Matthew Hiefield, Beaverton School District

Matt Hiefield (MAT) has 25 years of experience teaching high school Social Studies and is currently a digital curator and Social Studies TOSA for the Beaverton School District. He facilitates the District Equity Team and is passionate about digital divide issues and how the lack of home broadband internet access affects both teaching and learning. He currently serves as an ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Digital Equity PLN President, an ISTE Digital Equity PLN Editor, and as a CoSN (Consortium of School Networking) Digital Equity Advisory Council Member.

Carla Jefferson, Darlington County School District

Carla Jefferson is an instructional technology coordinator for the Darlington County School District in South Carolina. A 22-year veteran educator, Jefferson has been a classroom teacher, curriculum facilitator and school- and district-level administrator. Her passion for technology and teaching has led her on a journey to assist her district in making a digital transformation. Jefferson works with administrators, teachers and classified staff on effectively integrating technology into their learning spaces. Jefferson and colleague Rhett Hughes co-host the #dcsdtransforms podcast where they spotlight innovative work in their district and share new and creative ways to effectively integrate technology into the classroom. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Certified Apple Learning Specialist, Google Certified Educator/Trainer/Innovator, Google CS First facilitator, Remind Connected Educator and a member of the Remind Advisory Board. Jefferson has been recognized as a 2010-2011 Darlington County School District Honor Roll Teacher and as the 2016 Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator for South Carolina. She currently serves as a member of the South Carolina ASCD board, is the chair for the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) Instructional Technology Roundtable and is a member of the ISTE Digital Equity PLN. Jefferson is passionate about digital equity and helping people understand that it’s the blend of equity through access and opportunity that will change the game in our learning spaces.

Valerie Lewis, Mountain View HS

Her belief is that critical learning possibilities should be activated NOW in order to prepare students for skills that will make them future ready to compete on a global scale! Students need to lift their voice and advocate for themselves but this skill should be modeled and taught explicitly and consistently. Lessons should be personalized and student-centered and not based upon the teacher’s ideals and comforts. In order to strengthen the team, she understands that learning MUST create IMPACT. The formula should always be ONE SIZE FITS ONE! Learning is a daring lifelong journey but ultimately TRANSFORMS.

Dr. Michael Mills, University of Central Arkansas
Dr. Adam Phyall, Newton County School System

Dr. Adam Phyall is a former high school science teacher and currently serving as the Director of Technology and Media Services for Newton County School System in Covington, GA. Throughout his professional career, Dr. Phyall worked extensively with Title I and Urban schools to improve technology integration with economically disadvantaged students. He has planned and developed Mobile Learning plans for school districts in Georgia and Missouri that have led to 1:1 device initiatives.

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