Closing the digital equity gap is a priority to ensure high-quality learning for all children in Wisconsin. This can be done through access to robust broadband and digital learning resources, especially in rural areas and among other groups lacking internet access. All students deserve and must have access to these services for learning.
Throughout 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has led a variety of initiatives to help provide better access to digital learning opportunities to Wisconsin students.
Some of the ways the DPI has helped school districts improve digital learning equity include:
Creating the Digital Learning Bridge. Along with CESA Purchasing, DPI has established the Digital Learning Bridge Program, which allows school districts to purchase discounted internet access for families to support online blended learning as well as hardware and software tools.
Learning from digital equity data. The DPI is helping school districts collect and use their data on broadband speed and availability through the WISEdata and WISEdash applications. School districts can use this data to better target initiatives to help get access to those who need it.
Promoting technology expansion funding opportunities. Districts can work with local partners and other agencies, including the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, to support applications for funding to expand high-quality broadband access.
Testing broadband speeds statewide. As part of a larger effort to improve our knowledge about broadband service, the DPI is partnering with Measurement Lab (M-Lab for short) to collect broadband speed data across Wisconsin. This data can be used to plan and advocate for initiatives to improve broadband access across the state.
To learn more about these initiatives and how your school district or family can get involved, visit the DPI Digital Equity webpage. For questions, please email Rachel Schemelin at Rachel.Schemenlin@dpi.wi.gov.
Helping students get access to the digital learning tools they need to succeed is a long-term priority for DPI, and we look forward to sharing more in the future.
Subscriber Submission: DPI Technical Writer, Garrison Gondek; DPI E-Rate and Broadband Consultant, Rachel Schemelin