Digital Education

The Hechinger Report keeps a close eye on ways that technology is changing the ways we teach and learn.


Getting kids online at home is key to closing the digital divide — and harder than you might think

By Rachel Monahan

KENT, WA — As students stream off the schools buses here, the typical end-of-day scene unfolds with a twist. Thrown over the kids’ shoulders are sleek black laptop bags with the name of their district emblazoned on them. As part of an effort to bridge the so-called digital divide – the gap between rich and […]

Bronx Community College (Photo by Ryan Brenizer)

Is technology actually making higher education less efficient?

By Ryan Derousseau

After a full day of teaching at Boston College, Karen Arnold had to find time to read her students’ contributions to an online discussion board. Each was required to write at least one post, and, as usual, they seemed to have waited to do it until the night before the deadline. “They would just blather […]

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to approve a tax increase that will fund a $1.5 billion cap increase for E-Rate. (Photo credit: Nichole Dobo, The Hechinger Report)

FCC votes to increase E-rate funding for school technology

By Nichole Dobo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to approve a tax increase that will generate $1.5 billion more each year on technology for the nation’s schools and libraries. School leaders, technology advocates and many businesses urged the government to spend more money to bring schools and libraries up to date. With the increase, […]

Fifth-grade teacher Michele Downey gives directions to her class. Downey said teachers have evolved in their ability to use technology in meaningful ways. (Photo by Jackie Mader)

Can a school district’s technology program lift a rural Alabama town out of poverty?

By Jackie Mader

PIEDMONT, Alabama — For years, Chasity Tucker got frustrated when she tried to use her home computer for schoolwork. The 17-year-old senior at Piedmont High School in this rural northeastern Alabama town said her computer was slow and frequently got viruses. Then, in eighth grade, Tucker received a free laptop through the Piedmont School District […]

Students at the Minerva Schools at KGI take classes through an online program. The students are required to live together in the same city, but they are allowed to log on anywhere to attend classes. (Credit: submitted photo, Minerva Schools at KGI.)

What if a college ditched lecture halls, sports and clubs?

By Nichole Dobo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An experiment in higher education uses computers to give every student a virtual front-row seat in the classroom. Classes at Minerva Schools at KGI, a four-year undergraduate program, are conducted entirely through a software program created specifically for the school. During class, there is real-time interaction through the computer between professor and […]

A woman walks along a snow-covered street in the south Buffalo area on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Buffalo, N.Y. A new blast of lake-effect snow pounded Buffalo for a third day piling more misery on a city already buried by an epic, deadly snowfall that could leave some areas with nearly 8 feet of snow on the ground when it's all done. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

As winter approaches, virtual school replaces snow days in some districts

By Nichole Dobo

In the Owsley County School District in Kentucky, each winter there are more than 30 days when there’s too much snow to get students to school safely. So the district, located in a rural area south of the Daniel Boone National Forest, pioneered virtual school in the winter several years ago, getting students to hang […]

The Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail computer game lingers, amid a slew of new educational games

By Nichole Dobo

A computer game invented by Minnesota history a teacher in the late 1970s might seem like a bore these days, with its lo-fi graphics and lack of interactivity. The Oregon Trail remains a common denominator for American students born in that generation. It has its own meme. BuzzFeed publishes cheeky lists dedicated to it — […]

(Photo by Sarah Garland)

Technology skills only scratch the surface of the digital divide

By Jordan Shapiro

The realities of the “digital divide” are increasingly apparent. In a consumer culture that equates status with early adoption of the newest iPhone, access to new technology necessarily splits pretty clearly along socio-economic class lines. According to U.S. census data, for example, more than 30 million homes have no broadband access, most of them concentrated […]

Sunset Park Elementary School third grader Anaya Hardy, 9, uses an iPad during digital morning math at Sunset Park Elementary School in Wilmington, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/The Star-News, Mike Spencer)

Billions more in spending for school Internet connections under FCC proposal

By Nichole Dobo

After months of pleas from the nation’s school leaders, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission agreed Monday that billions more dollars each year are needed to improve school and library Internet connections. Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed raising the cap on such spending by about $1.5 billion a year to support work to link nearly […]

Didn’t make it to Palm Springs? Catch up on what happened this week at iNACOL Symposium

By Nichole Dobo

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Thousands of educators, technology firms and policymakers were at the annual iNACOL Symposium this week. On Tuesday, the social media hashtag for the event, #iNACOL14, was trending on Twitter — second only to hashtag for an Election Day conversation.

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