Reset has already talked about the role of Twitter in teaching and how technology has changed not only how teachers teach, but also how students learn. So we were happy to hear about a new Learning in the 21st Century 2011 Trends report, which discussed the increased role online classes play in student education.

Online learning provides both teachers and students opportunities to review and practice concepts. Perhaps no better example is the free learning seminars offered by the Khan Academy. Students still need teachers to facilitate and guide their learning; but online classes can provide useful supplemental education and studying tools.

The report found that more than 40 percent of students now say online classes play a key role in their education, a dramatic increase over the 9 percent of students reported using the Internet to take classes in 2008. The report attributes the increase in part to the increased presence of Internet in schools.

As more and more students use the Internet to learn, the more students without access to the Internet are falling behind. And as the percentage of students using the Internet to learn increases, so too does the digital divide. No one should be denied access to education because they do not have access to the Internet.

Closing the Digital Divide

Education 2.0 is not possible if schools and students don’t have access to the Internet. Without access to the Internet, students lose out on the opportunities offered from online classes. This digital divide threatens to leave students behind.

We recently heard about the difficulty the San Francisco Library’s Excelsior branch is having in meeting the demand for computers – evidence of the significance of the digital divide is facing in our city.

We have to work together to close the digital divide, which is why Reset is pushing for Guaranteed Universal Access to the Internet for all San Franciscans.


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