Originally published: March 20, 2012
Last updated: April 4, 2012 - 6:47pm
The obstacles encountered by low-income students and their families without internet access likely will worsen as schools start to provide their students with Wi-Fi enabled devices for online assignments, homework, and to connect with teachers and other students.
A 2011 Scarborough Research analysis shows 11 percent of Florida households with school-age children still lack internet access. “The digital divide is not because students lack devices,” said Ocoee Middle School Principal Sharyn Gabriel, who in October equipped each of her students still learning English with take-home iPod touches to help them master the language. “The digital divide stems from the lack of Wi-Fi.” School districts across are the state are racing to meet a mandate requiring schools to provide students with digital textbooks that connect to the internet by 2015. None of Central Florida’s school districts has surveyed students’ home internet access, but the Scarborough Research report shows that 9 percent of households in the metro Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne area with K-12 students don’t have it.
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