Everyone knows the hustle and bustle of preparing for a new school year: fresh notebooks, new clothes, and an array of school supplies lined up ready for action.
However, as we gear up for the new academic year, there's an additional yet critical layer to the back-to-school prep that’s easy to overlook: access to digital learning and technology. As the boundaries of the classroom continue to expand, embracing digital tools has become more important than ever to foster successful learning experiences.
One of the key reasons students in the US and around the world fall behind in their education is because they lack access to technology. This digital divide equates to 2.2 billion children and youth under 25 who don’t have access to the internet in their homes.
In the US alone, according to a study by the Pew Research Center, nearly 1 in 5 teenagers can't complete school assignments due to a lack of home access to technology.
For years, Global Citizen partner, Verizon, has ensured that educators and students are equipped to meet the moment through its game-changing initiative, Verizon Innovative Learning, which aims to transform the learning experience and bridge the digital divide. The initiative provides free technology, internet access, and tools that can help every student excel in the digital future, helping to bridge the digital divide.
To help close this divide, Verizon Innovative Learning offers an excellent resource for educators to ensure their students are ready to excel: their free K-12 online education portal, Verizon Innovative Learning HQ.
Verizon’s digital learning portal is multi-faceted, giving students, teachers, parents, and schools access to the latest digital technologies. Verizon provides free and flexible tools, such as digital lesson plans for teachers, coaching, and training, which allows participants to accelerate their long-term success. With these tools, Verizon is fulfilling its promise of the digital future with free access to tech and skills training.
As you prepare for the new school year, here are five resources from Verizon Innovative Learning and other sources that should be on every educator’s back-to-school checklist:
1. Verizon Innovative Learning HQ Lesson Plans and Education Apps
With over 350 standards-aligned lesson plans and over 20 education apps available for educators, students can explore a diverse range of subjects in engaging and innovative ways. Choose a subject, search for specific lessons, or explore our most popular and trending classroom content. You can also dive into the immersive world of Augmented and Virtual Reality for a unique learning experience.
Over 50 professional development courses are available to equip your favorite educators with the skills they need to navigate the digital world. They can discover flexible, credentialed, professional learning resources for remote, in-classroom, and hybrid instructions. Earn credentials and explore professional development courses curated by trusted partners and our network of educators.
3. Parents Advocating for Digital Literacy
Understanding the digital landscape is essential in today's world. For more than 30 years, studies have shown a significant link between family engagement in school life and academic success. Moreover, schools encouraging family involvement in home-based digital learning report improved outcomes. Parents' active participation, especially in the increasingly digital-focused learning environment, can create an impact that reaches well beyond the classroom. Verizon’s program helps parents know how to encourage digital literacy at home and advocate for it within their local schools.
4. Guides to Digital Safety
Parents' eagerness to engage in their children's learning, especially amidst the rise of new technologies, can have far-reaching positive effects. Empower yourself and your children with knowledge about online safety. Recognizing each family's uniqueness, Verizon empowers parents to tailor their child's digital experience through advanced parental controls and diverse product offerings. Their guides offer comprehensive information about maintaining a secure digital presence.
5. Understanding EdTech
Familiarize yourself with the innovative landscape of educational technology. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted students from classrooms to homes, catalyzing transformation in education technology (EdTech). This has spurred educators and EdTech developers to innovate, with students using digital tools for creative activities, virtual exploration, and collaborative performances. The future of education is digital, and developing an understanding now can give students a significant advantage.
Back-to-school is not just about filling up backpacks with stationery and textbooks, but also about ensuring every student has the digital keys to unlock their learning potential. Join the movement of Global Citizens around the world taking action to protect and improve education for all children. Get started by taking action now.