Student Access to Technology

Addressing the Need to Connect

The Need to Connect: Students in Rural US Struggle Accessing Technology, Hurting Their Abilities to Learn

Rural Students: Technology, Coursework, and Extracurricular Activities

The “digital divide”—the gap between people who have sufficient knowledge of and access to technology and those who don’t—is compounding equity problems within US schools.

Research results gathered in a survey of ACT-tested students show how family income, racial/ethnic background, geography and other factors can adversely affect students’ access to technology. Lack of technological access can limit the ability to complete assignments, participate in online courses, or complete a college application.

Policy Recommendations

Ensure all students have easy access to the applications they need for school-related activities.

Improve access to technology and quality internet connectivity both at school and at home.

Increase opportunities for rigorous course taking, especially among rural students.

Ensure students have access to adequate technology to implement personalized learning.

Related Reports

Digital Divide Compounds U.S. Education Equity Problem, First-of-Its-Kind Survey Reveals

This brief takes a closer look at one particular group of students who have access to only one device at home, a group representing 14% of all survey respondents.

Taking a deepr dive into the data on students with access to only one device is important because these students may face challenges not faced by students with access to two or more devices.


The Digital Gap Continues to Widen as Teachers Incorporate Internet-based Learning into Daily Curricula

The "digital divide" - the gap between people who have sufficient knowledge of and access to technology and those who do not - can perpetuate and even worsen socioeconomic and other disparities for already underserved groups.

This digital divide, which continues to widen, has also been referred to as the "homework gap," due to the challenges that students in technology-deficient circumstances face when trying to do theri homework.