Digital Inclusion is Vital for Students and Families – Podcast Episode 212 | Classnotes Podcast 212

Classnotes Podcast (September 27, 2021). The digital divide affects millions of Texas households that cannot get broadband Internet access. When schools moved instruction online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this country’s simmering digital divide reached a boiling point. Millions of students were unable to access schoolwork or their teachers.

In this episode, Christina Quintanilla-Muñoz, M.Ed., IDRA research analyst, and Thomas Marshall III, IDRA policy communications strategist, discuss the issue of digital inclusion and their work as IDRA Education Policy Fellows to advocate broadband access during the Texas Legislative session. They also highlight other advocates and organizations who partnered to secure affordable, dependable Internet connection for families. Christina and Thomas were interviewed by Michelle Martínez Vega, IDRA chief technology strategist.

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Show length: 20:50 min.


Digital Destination – Texas Needs Broadband Connectivity for All Students & Families, by Thomas Marshall III & Christina Quintanilla-Muñoz, M.Ed. (Ver versión en español)

Plugged in, Tuned Out – A First Examination of Student Engagement Patterns in Texas Public Schools During COVID-19, by Christina Quintanilla-Muñoz, M.Ed.

Texas Legislature Takes Some Steps Toward Addressing the Digital Divide, by Thomas Marshall, IDRA Newsletter, June-July 2021

FCC to Launch $7.17 Billion Connectivity Fund Program New Program Provides Funding to Schools and Libraries Critical to Closing the Homework Gap, May 10, 2021

Worst Connected Cities 2017. American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table B28002, National Digital Inclusion Alliance

IDRA Education Policy Fellows Program

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Show Notes

  • Thomas and Christina outline how they began their policy work on digital inclusion.

  • Thomas and Christina talk about some of the people and organizations they partnered with in their advocacy research.

  • Matthew shares percentages around digital access issues facing many students of color.

  • Christina discusses how the pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide.

  • Matthew and Christina consider whether the state should censor the Internet for students, balancing protection against harmful material with the online navigation decisions and skills needed to build digital literacy.

  • Christina talks about the promise that the recently passed House Bill 5 (2021) holds for addressing digital equity and digital inclusion.

  • Matthew notes several lost opportunities from bills that didn’t pass.

  • Christina and Matthew describe their plans to stay involved in advocating for digital literacy and digital inclusion.