This past week, I decided to help out with the after school program for CodeStream Studios – where I also help out with some of the documentation they require for their curriculum time to time. I used to teach last year and came to realize that many students do not have access to a computer within their household.
I think it’s a common assumption that everyone owns either a laptop or a desktop machine in their home. It is a common reality, especially among most of these students, that they don’t own any machine as such. Many students have a phone and that’s where most of their interaction with a keyboard is. According to this article, [Pew Research Article – Yes, it’s old I know, but it’s still facts] there are in fact 25 million households in the United States that do not have regular internet access, let alone have a computer in their household. Now-a-days it seems ordinary to have access to the internet and to use a computer within the comforts of your own home.
Let me make one thing clear – If you are among those who do have internet access and a computer of some sort within your household, consider your self grateful!
So…what about the students who don’t have access to a computer in their household?
Well, they rely on school computers and go to the library to use a computer which is surprisingly what most of us did back before computers were in every household (for me that would be the early 90s). Even while in college, I recall peers going to the library to complete papers or complete homework assignments. Recently, my niece accidentally threw away a 4 page magazine article that was given to her by her teacher to complete her homework assignment – She was absolutely devastated. I, on the other hand, furrowed my eyebrows at her reaction and told her ‘Don’t worry, everything is online, I’ll find it for you’. Within minutes, I found the same article written online and she was overjoyed. Later on, my sister called to my attention that some students depend on that 4 page magazine article in order to complete their homework since they don’t have access to a computer at home and aren’t able to look things up in a blink of an eye. I immediately understood why my niece felt the way she did – She does have access to a computer and internet however, she doesn’t fully understand how she can use it to find information online. With that being said, put yourself in her shoes for second (with the understanding that you make good grades and try to follow most of the directions when given) – Imagine realizing you misplaced the article you needed to get your homework completed. Full panic sets in as you realize you won’t be able to complete your assignment and will ultimately receive a grade that you aren’t proud of.
Keep in mind that some may not have access to the same resources as you do and be sensitive to it. If you do have an old laptop that is still performing relatively well – consider letting someone else have it to own.