Investments and initiatives in digital equity should be:
1. Systemic – providing equitable (free or low-cost) access to essential resources for digital inclusion, lifelong learning, workforce development and economic opportunity, including:
- computing devices
- multilingual tech support
- librarians skilled in guiding learners to high quality content and tools, keyed to their learning priorities
- low-interest financing even for families with weak or no credit so that, when devices are not free, they can afford to finance them and still support their families
- educational and productivity apps and software
- assistive devices and accessible instructional materials enabling those with special needs to participate fully in educational, economic and life opportunities
- open and "Deep Web" educational resources that are universally-designed
For more details on essential dimensions for systemic digital equity.
2. Community-based – engaging culturally, linguistically and socioeconomically diverse local leaders who represent key stakeholder groups (e.g., municipal, educational and business leaders, librarians, health and workforce development agencies, libraries, affordable housing, human services).
3. Evidence-based - designing and implementing local strategies and resources that draw on research-based practices.
4. Capacity building for the community’s educators – providing professional development strengthening PK-12, adult, and teacher educators’ efforts to develop their learners’ digital literacy skills.
4. Drawing on librarians’ leadership, expertise and resources – providing crucial guidance to learners to find, create and use high quality digital content and tools to meet their learning goals.
5. Research-based – drawing on research on best known inclusive practices at every phase of the collective impact process from defining priority concerns to identifying shared metrics to assess progress, selecting promising and proven strategies most likely to improve these metrics if implemented well, to continuously evaluating improvements in targeted metrics.
6. Based on the collective impact process – developing consensus on a common agenda for community change, shared measures for success, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communications, and a backbone organization that reflects and respects the community’s diversity and provides sustained governance for collaborative endeavors.
7. Culturally responsive – engaging local leaders whose diversity reflects fully the community’s linguistic, cultural, socioeconomic, racial and ethnic diversity, so the social impact goals they set are firmly rooted in locally determined needs and assets.
8. Focused on continuous improvement and generating knowledge – contributing new knowledge on investment strategies most likely to yield significant digital equity as well as educational and economic opportunity outcomes.
9. Focused on achieving not only digital equity (improved access to broadband, hardware, tech support, accessible and universally designed learning environments etc.) but also locally determined economic, educational and social impacts – i.e., fostering digital equity not only for its own sake but for its crucial contributions to other, more fundamental locally determined priorities for equity, social justice, and well-being.
10. Fostering gender, racial and ethnic equity -- e.g., significantly improved participation by girls, women and persons of color in STEM education and careers.
11. Focused on “deeper learning” – assisting learners of all ages to develop the skills for lifelong learning and living wage career opportunity in the digital age.
The National Collaborative is committed to these principles, fully in alignment with those of the Future Ready, Deeper Learning and Digital Inclusion Framework initiatives.