Why broadband access is an essential learning tool

Vol. 4, No. 8 (Spring 2023)
Brian Hotson, Editor, CWCR/RCCR

I recently was going into a shop in a stripmall, and one of my son’s friends from school was sitting on the sidewalk outside the store playing on their phone. I chatted with them a bit, and then asked if either of their parents was in this shop. “No. I come here because we don’t have internet at home.”

In a recent  Education Equality and Accountability Office (EQAO) survey of grade 9 students in Ontario, only 55.2% indicated that they had “access to strong internet connection at home to complete my schoolwork.” In real numbers, of the 103,816 students who responded to the EQAO survey, 3502 (3.4%) said that they do not have strong access to the internet; 1236 students (1.2%) indicated that they have strong access “hardly ever.” Eight hundred and twenty-four (0.8%) students in grade 9 in Ontario indicated that they “never” have access to the Internet (EQAO, 2023; see Figs. 1 & 2). Continue reading “Why broadband access is an essential learning tool”

Free-falling into the Digital Divide: Reading on smartphones in writing centres

Vol. 2., No. 6 (Winter 2021)
Brian Hotson, Co-Editor, CWCR/RCCR

How does fundamental change happen? Sometimes slowly, and then all at once.

Students started saying that they didn’t need to hand in a printed copy of their papers; the instructor asked them to submit them electronically only. They weren’t getting hardcopies of their assignments from their instructors either; they were showing us their assignment instructions on their phones. I remember the all-staff training session where I said that we would allow students to use their devices to show us their assignments. There were protests and conversation, but we agreed that it was the right thing to do for our students. It was a fundamental change, and we all felt it. I developed guidance for the tutors and students. The students were happy with the change, and the tutors who protested adapted were happy the students were happy

Of course, now this is quaint nostalgia. None of us has seen student work on 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper since March 2020, and many of us won’t see one again until maybe September, if ever. Continue reading “Free-falling into the Digital Divide: Reading on smartphones in writing centres”