Anthony Burik: All right. Good morning, everyone. Hi. Anthony Burik from Otan. Our webinar today, introduction to digital equity, inclusion, and literacy. I'm happy that you're here. Welcome. Good morning again. Here's our agenda for today. We're going to do some introductions and an ice breaker in just a second to get us going.
And then I want to jump into some background on these topics of digital equity, inclusion, and literacy. And we'll talk about some definitions of those terms and also dig into the terms themselves and think about resources that we might have available in each of these areas that we can share with our colleagues back at our agencies in our local-- in our local communities and then also with our constituents, with our students and other people who were serving.
So I do have the resources available for you right now if you want to go ahead and access them. So this is the Google site that we're going to use today. And again, as I mentioned, it has the three resources that I wanted to share with you. So on the left you should see a copy of my slides for today's presentation.
In the middle I have this document, this PDF file, which is what I'm calling my notes for today. And this has links to many different resources that we're going to look at today in addition to other resources that you'll want to take a look at on these topics.
So people always ask for the slides, but I think that actually you may want to share the notes with your colleagues as well back at your agencies. I tried to really give you an in-depth list of a number of different topics that I think are really good to look at to get a really good sense of what we're talking about here when we talk about equity, inclusion, and literacy.
So I'm back on my slides. So again, and the Bitly is going to be available for a while. So even tomorrow, next week, next month you can always come back to that Bitly and the resources will be there. So what I'd like to do next is I want us to do this icebreaker. And the question is what are the basic assumptions behind this phrase? You may use this phrase yourself or have been-- maybe somebody has told you to just Google it.
So I just want you to think about one basic assumption behind the phrase "Just Google it." if we tell someone to just Google it, what do we assume that they will be able-- what do we assume about that person that they actually would be able to just Google something?
So as these responses are coming in, let's see what people think are the basic assumptions behind the phrase "Just Google it." Everyone has equal access to the internet, access to a computer or a smartphone. The assumption that everybody has access to Google, the assumption that you can look something up or research it. Maybe the assumption is that you have some research skills behind you, that the person knows what Google is. Yes, OK, we can't-- well, OK. Access to the internet, that you can find this information. Go to google.com and know how to search for the word or the item or the concept.
Keep this. Yes, assuming that a person has digital literacy, a basic understanding of technology and how technology works. Yeah, how they-- that they know how to search for things on Google. So it's not just that you have to-- you go to Google and you type something into the box, but what exactly are you typing into the box to find the thing that you want to find out too? That you can do this by yourself. That's a good idea. Maybe we assume that just anybody can do it on their own. They don't need any assistance or anything. Yeah, and also this one too. Google has been around for so long that instead of looking it up in a variety of different ways that going to Google might be the most efficient way to do something.
Also another assumption, maybe somebody has mentioned it as well, is that on YouTube, one of the largest, I believe, one of the largest collections of videos on YouTube are these how-to videos. And so if you don't know that there are millions and millions and probably billions of how-to videos on YouTube and maybe that would just be the quickest place to go to, that might be something else that a person doesn't know about.
And I'm always amazed, so let's say, for example, I'm trying to fix the light in my refrigerator and I can also if I know the model of my refrigerator, that might be the most efficient thing to type into Google because I might get a manual, I might get links to videos, I might get maybe the manufacturer itself has created some videos that are the most efficient things to look at. So it's really kind of this information literacy component as well that we assume that people have some understanding.
All right. So we're back on the PowerPoint. So again, the reason why I wanted us to do this icebreaker is to think about, well, OK, let me make it very personal. So for me, for Anthony, I don't really run into many of the digital equity, and inclusion, and literacy issues that many other people in my estimation run into.
I'm very fortunate. I'm sitting in my home like probably everyone else. The internet is working here. I rarely have trouble connecting to the internet. There are more devices in this house than people. I have my own laptop. I'm borrowing a laptop from Otan. I also have my own cell phone. I have also an Otan cell phone.
And then my partner, Susan, upstairs she's sitting in front of her desktop computer. She has a phone as well. I think she has-- there's a tablet somewhere around this house that we haven't even used for many, many months. So most of the time I personally don't think about these issues. And unfortunately I sometimes go through life with the assumption that people will be able-- people are in my position as well.
So really my purpose, my real intent behind today is for us to be able to step back, and I know that all of us have been-- what we've been going through these last few months has been very intense. It's been very personal as well. I think probably many, if not all of us, have really felt overwhelmed at times behind with what we've been asked to do these past few months.
And sometimes I think when we make it personal, we just think that when my-- if I say to myself, oh, my students can't get on or they don't have a computer at home or whatever, that we think that it's really-- I'm the only person or maybe it's just me and my colleagues back in my agency we're the only people who are facing this problem.
And I think sometimes we forget. We don't really think about the scale of these issues. And so really for today, that's really my intent is for us to be able to step back from our own personal situation and try to have a much better understanding of the scale of these issues because these are very large issues. One of us on our own is not going to be able to solve these problems by ourselves. We're really going to have to think about how to work with others, how to collaborate with others to start solving these problems or at least addressing these problems for the benefit of our students, for our colleagues back at our agencies, for our communities so on and so on.
So I have this video. I'd like for us to watch this video. This is one view of the digital divide. What does the digital divide look like? It's about a four-minute video that I wanted to share this with us, share this today. So let me start the video here.
Lester Holt: Each morning Tuana Brown and her family park their van within range of free Wi-Fi because it's the only way she can afford to get her four kids connected to their schools.
Tuana Brown: Ta'nyi is 17, Tamara 16. Tiren is 13 and Tagen is 10.
Lester Holt: And this is new day. This is how you guys get connected?
Tuana Brown: We just sit around and also do the home work.
Lester Holt: Brown's daughter, Tunai, has more than the usual amount of schoolwork to do.
TA'NYI REED: I'm the class president of my junior class.
Lester Holt: How does the class president do her job remotely?
TA'NYI REED: I try to help her as many doing as I can and to do the work and get done on time.
Lester Holt: Well, so you're not just worried about your own schoolwork, you have to worry about your class?
TA'NYI REED: Yes.
Speaker 1: Today I use the network to read music.
Lester Holt: Until now, Brown work for the South Bend school district. She has pay-as-you-go in and out at home, but with all the data her kids need, she cannot afford it so they come here. The kids are getting online because of these buses. They already had Wi-Fi for the ride to school, but now districts are parking them in the open.
Speaker 2: We know that there's roughly around 10,000 buses that have our wireless routers. We keep hearing every day stories of school districts like South Bend and others that have recognized they can serve their students in new and important ways by leveraging this.
Lester Holt: Across the country, the internet is everything right now. And those who can't afford it are barely functioning. Nicol Turner Lee studies the effect of having no internet.
Nicol Turner Lee: I've gone all over the country, and I've gone to places where people literally tell me, "Without a phone I can't get a job because my phone is my only entry way to be called for a day laborer position or to apply for a job or to hear back from the employer."
Lester Holt: Schools are particularly unequal at the moment. Even some teachers don't have the internet access they need.
Rick Beaule: I know of several cases where educators have to drive from their house to parking lots at a gas station or even Starbucks where they sit-in their car for eight hours while they provide instruction for the kids.
Lester Holt: But even in cities where broadband is theoretically available, the number of people who can't afford it is shocking.
Angela Siefer: So in the United States according to the census, we have 18 million households in the US that do not have broadband subscriptions at home, even mobile service. 14 million of those 18 million are in urban areas.
Lester Holt: And in cities like Chicago, lack of internet access at home correlates with higher death rates from coronavirus. Just look at these maps from WBEZ Chicago. The neighborhoods with the highest COVID-19 death rates in March and early April also reported the lowest rate of paid internet subscriptions. It's not the only factor, but it's an important one. Without the internet people have to go out to pay their bills, visit with a doctor, buy groceries, putting them at greater risk.
Do you think there is overlap between not having broadband access and having greater vulnerability to something like coronavirus?
Angela Siefer: I think the clear overlap is poverty. And we know that in poorer neighborhoods there are fewer individuals households who have access to that broadband in their homes. If you don't have broadband you're not going to stay at home.
Lester Holt: The coronavirus has torn the bandage off yet another painful problem in America.
Speaker 3: These are not new phenomena. If anything, they surface just how deep and ingrained these inequalities are in our society.
Lester Holt: Tuana Brown says these buses have created a strange rhythm to her family's life.
Tuana Brown: So they also have like a free lunch that's usually come with the buses, and so we take-- we take that up to and if we're having a bad connection, there are several buses that we could go to. Because I have transportation and so if we are having an issue, we just go to another one which is right down the street.
Lester Holt: Hey, NBC News viewers. Thanks for checking out our YouTube channel.
Anthony Burik: OK. Thank you, NBC. Thank you, Lester Holt. All right. So again, this is one view of the digital divide. As one of the speakers mentioned, this is a phenomena that we tend to find more in urban areas rather than rural, and yet it is a problem in rural areas as well. And it does look different than it does-- than it looks in maybe larger cities or smaller towns.
So the term digital divide, this is not a new term. This is actually a term that's been around now since the late 1990s. So it's something that people have been thinking about for a while. They've been wondering how do we solve this problem about the digital divide.
I noticed that in April, so probably a couple of months ago, our state superintendent Tony Thurmond actually created a new task force called the closing the digital divide task force. And they've been meeting periodically. They've actually been having webinars on the CDE Facebook site. So you can take a look at some of those task force meetings. They're very interesting. And they really give a very good perspective I think about the issues that are happening all across California. Big cities, small towns, rural areas, suburban areas, I mean everybody is weighing in on this digital divide task force.
But the reason why I wanted to bring up this term digital divide is that I think sometimes it's a little-- it's too big. It doesn't really help us get into the specifics, specific issues that we're facing in our communities, specific issues that our students are facing, our colleagues are facing. So I want us to put the term digital divide aside for a moment, and really let's dig into some more specific terms.
So the first term is digital equity. And I wanted to share this definition that comes to us from NDIA, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. We'll talk about NDIA in a bit, a few slides down. But I wanted to borrow their digital equity definition as a starting point.
So I'm just going to read what you see here on the screen. Digital equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy. And for the purposes of today, I highlighted the phrase the information technology capacity needed. So again, digital equity is a big concept, but today I want us to focus on the specific piece of it, the information technology capacity needed.
And so the question for us to think about is how do we create this capacity? This capacity will enable many different individuals and communities to participate in our society democracy and economy via technology, but for me at this point, the question, the basic question is, how do we create this capacity?
So then the next definition from, again from NDIA is about digital inclusion. So I'm going to read this definition. Digital inclusion refers to the activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged have access to and use of information and communication technologies.
And so again I emphasize for today's purposes a couple of phrases, "the activities necessary to have access to and use of." So again, a question for us to think about is does every individual and community need the same activities? And in my mind this is really the difference between equality and equity.
So it's not that we just have a pot of money, for example, and we distribute it equally among a number of different parties. It's that we think about what does each community need to create this capacity? And each community is going to be different. Some of them will be the same, but not all of them. And even among urban areas or even among rural areas maybe the need is not the same.
So again, we want to think about the activities necessary for our particular community and how is that going to help build up the capacity. So again, from NDIA these are the five digital inclusion activities that they identify. So number one, affordable, robust broadband internet service. Number two, internet enabled devices. Number three, access to digital literacy training. Number four, quality technical support. And five, applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self sufficiency, participation, and collaboration.
And so this morning we're going to focus mainly on 1, 2, and 3. Broadband, devices, and digital literacy training are often referred to as the three-legged stool. And I think when people think about digital divide broadly, they usually have one or two or three of these things in mind.
Either my students can't-- don't have internet access at all or maybe their internet access is not robust. They don't have devices. Maybe everybody's working off of a phone or there's only one computer at home for five or six people. And then digital literacy. They don't have-- they're not really-- they don't really have the skills that they need to be active participants online and using the technology.
So what I'd like for us to do is take a look at some organizations that focus on one or two or three of these things, broadband; devices; and digital literacy training. And I would say that moving forward after today, I think it would be really helpful for us to really learn more about these organizations.
California is a huge state, and there are a number of organizations across the state that are working on these issues. But sometimes we don't know which agencies these are, what exactly they're working on, what kind of opportunities they offer to the-- offer to the field that we might want to take advantage of.
And then also to this last point about consortium partnerships. So I'm not an expert by any means on these topics, but the more I get to learn about these organizations and really understand these topics more in depth, I really see a lot of ways that we in our agencies can really partner with other organizations in our communities to try to address these issues.
And I think if anything COVID-19 has taught us that when it comes to the internet there aren't really any boundaries. There may be other organizations in California or even in other states across the country where we might want to think about partnering with some of these organizations. So as we go through these next slides, maybe you'll have some ideas about some organizations that you want to reach out to and get to know a little bit better.
So let's start with at the National level here. And I want to frame this slide in terms of this argument about commodity versus utility. So I think we would be having a very different webinar and discussion this morning if broadband internet were considered or were designated as a utility in the United States.
It really is a-- it's seen more as a commodity rather than a utility at the federal level right now. When you look at the FCC, for example, the FCC there's a five-person commission. I believe the composition of that commission right now is three commissioners have been appointed by Republican presidents and two have been appointed by Democratic presidents.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is an executive agency that advises the president. So I suppose you could look at these two agencies and some of the actions and decisions that they've made recently and come to the conclusion that perhaps we're basically leaving it up to the marketplace to decide how broadband is going to be distributed across the United States.
For example, some of the arguments about why broadband doesn't exist in certain parts of-- in certain rural areas, for example, is that if a marketplace-- a marketplace point of view is that it doesn't make economic sense for companies to set up broadband for so few customers. So that's what the marketplace has decided, for example.
Another marketplace argument even in urban areas is that, and we heard about it a little bit in the video, the one speaker said that she felt like the common denominator is poverty. And so sometimes companies will look at certain neighborhoods or census tracts or what have you and decide that the amount of people who live in that particular area wouldn't be able to-- either wouldn't be able to afford internet service or would not be willing to pay for internet service. So again, in their marketplace estimation, it doesn't always make sense for companies to go and expand broadband networks within urban areas, for example.
So again, depending on the political orientation of the federal government, you may see some federal action that's more activist in the future or maybe more marketplace oriented in the future. It really is a political decision in many ways, and oftentimes an economic decision as well.
On the other hand, there are some organizations out there, BroadbandNow is one and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance is another, and they're really trying to see at a very local level how communities are organizing broadband service in their own municipalities and their own localities. And when you start to look at some of these maps and what's happening at different state levels, you'll see a lot of innovation and experimentation as to how to expand broadband networks in particular communities.
And again, it's not really at the state level that we're talking about, it tends to be more at the local level. So in California we may want to look not only within our own state, but perhaps what other states are doing and local communities within those states to see how they are bringing broadband service to their communities. Maybe they have some-- maybe there are models out there that we might want to take a look at.
So within California, the effort to put broadband into place is really a multiagency effort. And so it's helpful for us to be familiar with some of these agencies that are working on bringing broadband to California. So the first is the PUC, the California Public Utilities Commission. Within the PUC, there is a division called the communications division.
I'm going to open up-- I'm going to click on the link and just show us that website quickly. Hopefully it will open. So hopefully you can see my screen. This is the California Public Utilities Commission website, the communications division. So they are the folks most broadly-- not broadly. They're the most intimately familiar with broadband in the state.
I want to point out a few things here. So I didn't know until I came to the PUC website, when I scroll down to this universal services program section, that this is a place where these are different funds that are available for agencies to submit grant applications to receive funding for projects that they can implement back in their communities.
Let me just click on one of them, the California Advance Services Fund. And you can scroll down a bit and learn more about that. But I didn't-- I was very happy to see, and I'm not sure-- I think it's-- well, anyway, what I was learning was as I was looking at the grantees that had applied for funding from the PUC on their projects back in their communities, I saw a number of-- I actually saw Oakland Adult and Community Education.
They received a grant I think a couple of years ago to either I know that they've been long famous for their mobile bus that drives around Oakland. It's fitted with computers within the bus. And so the bus-- they drive the bus around to school campuses. And it's basically a kind of computer lab that people can-- either parents or maybe students can jump on the bus and hop on the internet.
So I don't know whether Oakland Adult had-- was building another bus or they were retrofitting the current bus. But anyway, they applied for a grant, and they got grant funding to work on that digital project, that digital equity project. So again, one place that we can look at for potential funding for some projects that we might want to implement at our agencies.
There's also something called the California Broadband Council. So in California, at the state level we have the California Department of Technology. Under the CDT there is an office called the Broadband and Digital Literacy Office. And one of the things that that office runs is the broadband council, the California Broadband Council.
So if you look at their website, the California Broadband Council, it's a pretty high-powered council. I don't know, I'm not too familiar with California State government, but let me see if it'll scroll here. But these are the members of the council. So we have members of the Senate. We have the president of the PUC, director of Department Emergency Services. Tony Thurmond our state superintendent is there, secretary of transportation is there. So this is a pretty high-powered council that talks about broadband issues across the state.
But I'd also like to direct your attention to the resources section of the council. And they've done a pretty good job of trying to curate a number of resources from different state departments. Here we see the PUC. We'll talk about the CETF in a second. But this might be a good place to look for, for example, free internet offers, affordable internet and device offers. So when we're looking for that information, the council is a good place to keep tabs of.
There's also, I'm not sure the pronunciation, CENIC or CENIC. So this agency is responsible for the California Research and Education Network, CalREN, which is basically the computer network that is wired to or networks most, the vast majority of K-20 institutions across California, so K-12 schools, community colleges, the CSU schools, the UC schools, also a number of private universities as well, and also the majority of public libraries across the state.
CENIC is a really good place to look at also for information they do. It's a very technical kind of organization. However, they do publish a number of articles and research studies on networking issues across the state. I think one of the cruel ironies of COVID-19 is that all of these billions of dollars that have been spent to wire all of our schools and libraries are going to waste at the moment because we have shut everything down.
And so right when we need the internet for students and our communities, so many of these locations where the internet is available have been shuttered for the moment. So but CENIC is an organization that we should know about definitely.
Also another organization called the California Emerging Technology Fund. Actually this fund came out of a couple of telecom mergers in the early 2000s. So money was set aside from those mergers to fund the CETC, sorry CETF. CETF manages programs and projects to improve what they call the five As of the digital divide, so access, affordability, applications, accessibility, assistance to broadband.
One of the things that the CETF manages is this Internet For All websites. So if we open that website up. So again, this is another resource that's very handy to look at for information about affordable internet in our communities, how we can get our hands on devices as well. So they have a pretty good COVID-19 section here along with a tool kit. But this might be another place where we find some of that information about broadband service and internet devices that we can get in our students' hands. So Internet For All Now.
Marjorie Olavides: (Inaudible) says that her agency is distributing Chromebooks, internet hot spots to students. Also they have the campus parking lot open for students and staff access to Wi-Fi. Some of the CARES Act money is used to train faculty on equity and online education and digital redlining too.
And then in response to that, Jacqueline asked if the students know how to use the Chrome books and if the students have district email addresses to access the internet. And Saatchi replied back that many of the students have used Chromebooks while they've attended their classes face to face prior to COVID. They have tutorials et cetera, but digital literacy is still a big challenge.
Anthony Burik: So actually I want to-- let me circle back to Saatchi question for a second because I want to put it in a different context. So and let me go back to the CETF site for a second. So it's one thing to curate this information together in one place to say oh, OK, well, and I'm sure that all of us have maybe or maybe some of us have seen some of these spreadsheets that have come out with like, OK, well, here's a list of the telecom carriers, like Sprint, and AT&T, and T-Mobile, and Verizon, and they're offering this plan or that plan for the next couple of months. And it's a greatly reduced plan. That's the kind of information that we can get from the CETF, for example, or from back at the council, the Broadband Council.
So it's one thing for us to be able to put that information together and share it with our students or others in our communities, but it's an entirely another thing to say-- to hand off the list to someone and say, OK, so here's the information, and so now you go and go get discounted internet service.
So my background is ESL. So, of course, I always think about ESL students. And I think about all my ESL students whose first language is Spanish and Russian and Vietnamese and Chinese. And I think, OK, well, what is our student going to do with this list? Do they understand that they could call up one of these carriers to try to get service? So, for example, like would they be able to find a Spanish speaker or a Russian speaker or a Vietnamese speaker?
So we're leading them halfway there. We're giving them some information, but then it's like we're doing this handoff and then it's like, OK, here you go. You got the information. So I think to come back to Saatchi's question is that is this idea of advocacy? Is this idea of, OK, so what exactly is it that we need to do to advocate for our students, whether it's remote testing, whether it's helping to find a low-cost internet plan, whether it's getting a Chromebook into their hands or some other kind of refurbished device?
So I guess, Saatchi, what I'm suggesting is that maybe we need to, we, and when I say we I think I mean all of us, need to really think about what is it exactly that the agencies should be doing to advocate for our students. And I don't really-- I'm not going to say that I know what the answer is to that question because I don't. I need to think about that some more.
I do think that there is strength in numbers. I think if it's not just one school going back to an agency and saying on the remote testing issue, for example, but if it's a number of schools that are all saying, these are the issues that our students are facing, and how can we live up to this expectation when our students are not fully equipped to do what it is that we're asking them to do?
So I think definitely advocacy is something that we need to think about some more. How exactly do we advocate for our students? What's the messaging that needs to go out? Who are the people that we need to talk to? Yeah, so I think it's a big issue.
Saatchi, let's think about that some more. But I think that that's really what I'm suggesting is that we can't just do it half way. We have to think about, again, what is our capacity to fill in some of these gaps? And these are huge gaps. So what is it that we might be able to do?
Marjorie Olavides: Saatchi replies back and says, "I think it's crucial that we work on access. It is also crucial that we recognize the challenges that the underserved populations face and make sure students have equitable opportunities to succeed in remote assessment et cetera." She also says that she's hoping that CDE recognizes the challenges that our students face and don't require courses remote testing as is.
Anthony Burik: OK. And I think I'm hoping that a lot of us and many different agencies recognize the challenges that we've all been facing for the last few months. And I do feel-- I think, well, I mean, this is my opinion. I mean, I think probably many of us were caught way off guard and had no plan to move to-- whatever you want to call it-- online learning, remote learning, distance learning what have you. But that's not to say that we can't take what we've been learning these past few months and moving forward think about how we address these issues that we now-- that are staring us in the face now.
Let's move on to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. I would say my personal opinion is that if you want to start with any of the organizations we're going to talk about today that this might be the one you start with. NDIA has many, many, many resources on its website.
And I want to highlight a few things in particular. They have a couple of these manuals or guidebooks on their website that I think are really very helpful. They're really written in very plain language. It's not very technical. And I think it's very accessible in terms of our understanding of what the issues are and how we might start working on some of these issues.
So we'll go to the NDIA website in a second so I can show you where these are. But I just want to highlight a few of these items on the website. So there's a digital inclusion startup manual. The manual was written for an organization or agency that was thinking about starting from scratch, like what is the digital inclusion issues that we need to think about.
However, I was looking at the manual a couple of days ago, again, and really thinking, wow, like maybe even though we have whatever setup we have back at our agency, and I'm thinking about computers in our classrooms and our computer labs and whatever else we're doing back at our agencies, like it's really I thought being able to look at it again with fresh eyes and think about, OK, well, maybe there's more that we can do in our computer labs. Or maybe there's more that we can set up in our classrooms. Or maybe there's more that we can do with some of our consortium partners in our community.
So I thought it was really-- I think take a look at that manual with a fresh set of eyes of what we've been experiencing the last few months and think about, OK, well, what-- maybe we were correct in our estimation of how we have things set up to have everybody participate.
NDIA also a few years back, they wrote what they call the Discount Internet Guidebook. It really gives some background. I think probably the first half of it or so talks about this commodity versus utility issue and the history of how that has evolved over the years to where we are now, and then some ideas about how to learn more about discount on internet that we can make available to our communities.
They have another guidebook called the Digital Inclusion Coalition Guidebook. It's a really very interesting discussion about some partnerships across the country. They focus on six communities across the country where agencies and organizations in those communities came together in partnership and coalition to begin to address digital inclusion issues in those particular communities.
They also talked about five other coalitions. One of them is the-- and I don't know whether how active the Get Connected Oakland coalition is. It was the only coalition that was from the state of California that was included in this particular guidebook.
But I think that it's a really good manual for understanding how we in our communities might begin to form these coalitions that will address digital inclusion issues. So it's not just us, it's not just me and my classroom, it's not just us at our Adult School or at our public library, but it is us and other organizations in our community that are all working to the same purpose, to the same end, and really leveraging resources that we can bring to the table to address those issues in a much larger way.
And then the NDIA also has what they call their affiliates map. So let's go to the website for a second so I can show you where some of these resources are. So again, NDIA, National Digital Inclusion Alliance. So when you take a look at the NDIA website, if you scroll down a little bit, they have this practitioner support section. So this is where you're going to find those guidebooks that I mentioned. And you can download them and share them with others. Maybe it's something that you want to bring back to the folks at your agency, maybe have everyone take a look at that.
And then they also have this affiliates section. And let me remember where that is. So NDIA is trying to get what they call affiliates to register on their website so and be included in their count of affiliates organizations across the country that are working on digital inclusion issues in their communities.
They do have this list down here towards the bottom of the page. And so you can take a look and see which agencies in California have registered as an affiliate of the NDIA. And maybe there are community or sorry, maybe there are agencies in California that you might consider reaching out to whether or not they're in their community or whether or not they're in your community.
Again, COVID-19 has broken down some of those barriers where we don't necessarily feel geographically tied to the best resources. They may be in other parts of California or across the country. So you might want to take a look at what some of these agencies are up to in terms of the inclusion issues that they are working on. And maybe reach out to them for some conversation, ideas about what they're doing, any resources that they might be able to share as well.
So NDIA, although also I'm not affiliated with NDIA in any way, but I will make a pitch that you can join the website, their organization for free and get on their mailing list and learn more about what they're working on. They send the newsletters. Follow them on social media. But like I said, I think this is a great organization to really start with if you're looking to learn more about some of those issues.
So I also noticed this issue or this idea of loaning out devices and hot spots. Shout out to our friends at North Orange Community, sorry, North Orange Continuing Education down in Orange County. I think a few weeks ago they had a student laptop-loan-program day where they invited students to apply for a device that could be loaned out, devices and hot spots.
I also didn't know until I really started digging into it that our many public library systems in California also loan out hot spots for a number of weeks at a time. You can actually use devices. Also, you can borrow devices in the public library as well. But this might be something that we think about in the future is we are sitting on a lot of technology back at our agencies.
As I mentioned, currently, right now, it's just sitting there. And so maybe it could be put to use, put to better use. And so this is an idea for us to think about. Would we be able to do any kind of a loan for our students, for the students who really are in the most desperate situation? They have no internet access, they have no devices or not enough devices at home. Is this something that we might be able to set up back in our agencies? Marjorie, let me pause there. Any questions or anything?
Marjorie Olavides: Christina is asking can you get laptops from a public library?
Anthony Burik: So you should definitely check in with your public library system. In the notes I put reference to the LA public library system and the Sacramento public library system. LA, I don't remember off the top of my head, but I do believe that they-- at least the hot spots could be loaned out or maybe it was both. I don't remember.
Anyway, I do remember with the Sacramento public library. And I did put in a link to actually their loan agreement. So if we're looking for the language of that, the mechanics of how we would do this, take a look at what the Sacramanto public library system has there. I know that they loan up hot spots for four weeks at a time. I don't think they had a laptop-loan-out program though.
So you'd have to look maybe in your community what they're up to. This would also, so speaking of advocacy, this might be an opportunity to, if your public library system is not doing something like this, to go to them and say, oh, by the way, I see that other public library systems across the state are doing this. And is there the possibility of putting this program into place at our public library system, for example, if we at the Adult School aren't able to do it?
This is where we think we need to think outside the box here a little bit. This is where these opportunities for partnership come up, for coalition building come up. How can we all work together to the same ends? So the answer to Christina's question is take a look and see what your public library systems offer.
Marjorie Olavides: Denise is asking what are the timelines for getting grants or resources? We will need things by August if we aren't going back face to face?
Anthony Burik: So it really is incumbent on all of us to take a look at those deadlines. So when I showed you, for example, the PUC site and you start digging into those funding opportunities, they all have their own funding deadline. So there's not like one universal June 30 or anything like that.
You have to take a look at the deadline for the particular funding opportunity, and then also take a look at the timeline. So even though you may be awarded something on June 30, for example, there's no guarantee that things are going to get done by August 1, for example. So it's totally dependent upon the application itself.
I will say, Jacqueline, though to your question, again, let's think about the long term. So right in front of us is the summer session if we're running one and then the fall session. So maybe we can't get something into place right on September 1 or August 15 or whenever we're going back. But this is a long term issue. These are long term issues that we're facing.
So maybe it's better-- well, sorry, I shouldn't say that. Another way to look at it is rather than trying to rush something into place, let's really think about what the needs-- what are the specific needs in our community? That's why I was saying back on this NDA-- NDIA, let me go back to the startup manual. So this manual in particular I thought was super helpful. You look at what your situation is with a fresh set of eyes.
I think that pre-COVID we had some assumptions about our students and devices at home, internet access. Oh, everybody has a phone. All these ideas that we've had for a while about what our students' capacity is. And so I think that COVID-19 has probably made us question some of those assumptions about our communities and our students and what exactly they have access to and what exactly they don't have access to.
So I would say again, let's not rush it. Let's be very thorough in our planning. And again, can we get-- if we want to get a couple of other agencies in on the activity, we're going to need-- that's going to take some time to coordinate among different agencies. So I'll just say that maybe another way to think about it is let's think about the long term. What are the long term fixes that we can start to put into place that are going to address some of these issues? And I know that maybe that's not the answer you want to hear, but that's the answer that comes to my mind at the moment.
Again, we're borrowing the definition-- we're borrowing the definition from NDIA which comes to us by way of the ALA, the American Library Association on digital literacy. And this definition actually has been around for a number of years now. I think maybe about a decade or so. And I think probably many of us are familiar with it, that digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.
So again, like I said, these last two months I think really gave us an opportunity to really think again about our understanding of what it means to be digitally literate. We may think that we understood what that term meant, but now that we have asked everybody to be digitally literate over these last couple of months, and we see the limitations in people's skills and abilities and such, I think it's a good time to look again at that definition.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you-- I'm going to show you the following five elements of digital literacy that NDIA has come up with. And as I'm going through them, I want you to think about them for your yourself as a measure of your own digital literacy.
So number one, a digitally literate person possesses the variety of skills, technical and cognitive, required to find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information in a wide variety of formats. And again, I emphasize this phrase, "the variety of skills." So it's not that I know how to do one or two things, but that it's that I know how to do a number of different things-- to be able to do, to find, to understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information.
The second item, a digitally literate person is able to use diverse technologies appropriately and effectively to retrieve information, interpret results, and judge the quality of that information. And I highlighted these diverse technologies. But really when we talk about information, we are-- many people say that we are at the beginning of an information revolution, and so information literacy really is a special kind of literacy with its own set of skills. And so do we have the skills and technologies to be able to work with information.
Number three, a digitally literate person understands the relationship between technology, lifelong learning, personal privacy, and stewardship of information. And so it's not just that you know or you have a good understanding of technology, lifelong learning, personal privacy, and stewardship, but you understand the relationship between these items as well how these items interact. Yes, so you understand the relationship between these items.
Number four, a digitally literate person uses these skills, so the previous skills that we just talked about, so uses these skills and the appropriate technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, colleagues, family, and on occasion the general public. So really the focus here is on the communicating and the collaborating, but being able to have to use these skills and technology to do those things, to go beyond your own uses of technology to now reach out into the world.
And lastly, again, uses these skills, so again, all the skills that we've talked about, to actively participate in civic society and contribute to a vibrant, informed, and engaged community. So again, all of these skills and technical know how to be able to communicate with others, collaborate with others, participate in civil society, and even contribute if you want to do those things.
So I wanted to just put-- come up with a slide that put all of those things into one place. And think about, as we've just gone through this list here, think about how that applies to yourself. And my last item here. By the way, don't ever make this kind of a slide. It's not as effective as you think. Please do not jam up slides with a lot of information.
So another way to think about it is really to think about digital literacies-- plural. So it's not just digital literacy, but it's actually a number of different literacies that we're asking people to have in this new information age. So I think when you look at this chart more closely, I think we tend to find that a lot of our understanding of digital literacy falls maybe in this upper quarter of the grid.
But if we're wanting to really expand our abilities, our digital abilities, we really need to think about literacies-- again plural, and break them down into more specific skills and abilities that we might want to further develop. So again, I think this is an opportunity for us to think about, OK, well, what exactly is digital literacy? If we say that somebody is digitally literate what is our understanding of that person's abilities?
One of the organizations that Otan follows is ESTE, the International Society for Technology in Education. ESTE has come up with a number of standards for technology use that-- and they break them out by standard for students, standards for teachers, standards for education leaders, and then also standards for coaches, technology coaches.
And so if we're thinking about not only standards, but really how do we get to realizing those standards, ESTE is very good in really giving us some food for thought in terms of what does it mean if a student has the ability to communicate with others in a digital environment. So what exactly-- what are some of the things that they would be able to do that would give us a pretty good feel for a person's digital literacy when it comes to communicating with others or collaborating with others?
We've done, for example, Otan has done a number of trainings over the last few months about Google products. And one of the great things about Google products is the ability to collaborate with others. So this might be using Google Forms with-- in a group of students, or building a Google slide stack with other students might be one manifestation of a student's ability to communicate with others in a digital format, for example. So ESTE is a great place to look for those standards and also the activities that come with getting us to the realization of those (Inaudible).
Marjorie Olavides: Anthony, back to the map real quick.
Anthony Burik: Sure.
Marjorie Olavides: We have one question. What do the colors represent?
Anthony Burik: OK. So I took a really cool screenshot of something on there-- on the ESTE standards page, but basically this map was meant to show the adoption of ESTE standards state by state and when-- basically what set of standards did each state adopt. Because these standards as ESTE has rolled out the standards over the years, they've had like earlier versions of the standards and then later versions of the standards. So I believe that the greenish colors refer to an earlier adoption or an adoption of an earlier version of the standards, and the blue-- the dark bluish color is a later adoption of the same or a revised set of the standards.
But basically ESTE is trying to show that across the country the states have adopted ESTE standards to varying degrees. But I wanted to point out these webinars in particular that maybe would be good ones to review to address some of the immediate issues that you're facing with your students in terms of access and communicating with your students and connecting with them, staying connected with them.
Very early on we did an increasing equity workshop that was from our friends over at CALPRO. So take a look at that one. We've also done one about cell phone usage, Google Voice, Remind. We also did a webinar a couple of weeks ago about RACHEL devices.
And so RACHEL devices are basically-- they're oversized USB drives. And so what you can do is you can preload a whole range of content onto a RACHEL device. And then a RACHEL device has a range that so if people are sitting around or working around a RACHEL device, they connect directly to the RACHEL device. They don't need to-- they don't need internet access. They connect directly to the device and then they can work with the content that's on the RACHEL device without having to connect to the internet. So that webinar might be of interest to you as well.
We pitch it for like rural areas and corrections facilities, but really anybody can use a RACHEL device. I've heard back at some agencies where at an offsite satellite location, they have little to no internet access perhaps, maybe they're working like in a church basement or community center of some sort, and so maybe a RACHEL device would be a great way to bring that content to the satellite location and not have to worry about whether or not there's internet available at the site. So these are the webinars in particular to take a look at.
So again, thinking about our robust distance learning program back at our school-- back at our agencies, over the last few months, we've seen a number of these articles come out, how do we help our students who have limited internet or no internet, how do we connect with them, how do we still teach them, how do we still get them the resources that we need? I have this article linked in my tools handout.
I also have from this website Ditch the Textbook or Ditch That Textbook, sorry. Matt Miller who's behind that has come up with a whole page of resources. And I was really impressed with some of his ideas about how to, again, keep our students with limited to no internet access, few devices or not the quote unquote, "not the right devices" at home, how do we connect with them, how do we stay-- have them keep learning even when everybody-- when everyone is sheltering in place. So this is really another good website to take a look at. And both of those are linked to in my tools handout.
Also thinking about digital skills for the workplace. So it's not just for education, for our subject areas, but also thinking about digital skills for the workplace as well. So again, this is a long term issue. How do we get our students and our community members trained to work in the workplace with this new emphasis on everyone having the digital skills and abilities that they need to be able to work in a variety of workplace settings?
So two organizations that are really working strongly on this. One is called the National Skills Coalition. And then a newer one is called DigitalUS. DigitalUS is actually a coalition of organizations from across the country. Actually NDIA is one of the coalition members of DigitalUS. But again, trying to think about digital skills for the workplace in a very broad sense and all of the different work that different agencies are working on in their particular workplace areas. So this is an organization to keep tabs on.
I just want to talk about technical support for a minute here. So I'll just say that again, we have to think about being able to provide this technical support to support-- to further support the three-legged stool. I'll just give you the example of Otan office hours. So before COVID-19 Otan didn't offer an office hours, but we realized that if we were going to start training everybody on all these tools that we might also need to provide some more support. So we started with an Otan office hours offering. And I think some of you probably have come to this office hours.
I wanted to share a couple of articles with you to think about using our students to help with tech support. You can go ahead and take a look at those articles. And also again, thinking more broadly. What about tech support provided by or in partnership with some of our partners who are out there as well?
A few more resources. Even if we live in urban or suburban areas, I think it's worthwhile just follow these folks on social media, National Rural Education Association, which also has state affiliates across the country, and then within the state, the California Rural Ed Network. I think it gives us a good sense of what are the issues that our colleagues out in more rural areas are facing in terms of access issues, internet broadband issues, and things like that.
And then I want to do maybe some other day a whole webinar about repurposing e-waste. This is a fascinating rabbit hole that I have drifted down on more than one occasion. One idea that came to me was, well, why not? What if we hit back at our Adult Ed agencies created or built up some certificate programs, CTE programs that would give our students the skills building to-- on refurbishing electronic items, repurposing them, getting them out into the communities. What if we could offer that as a certificate program?
I'm just going to put that out there. I think what I have been learning is that there are many barriers to creating this kind of a program. And maybe in the future we'll do a separate discussion about that. But anyway, these are the organizations, I think take a look at what these folks are up to as well.
I'm at 11:30. Oh my gosh, I thought I was going to be done much earlier, but again, after today or right now and maybe in the future, think about three things you've learn today, hopefully you've learned three things and more, two things that you can share, share with your students, share with your colleagues. And then one thing that you will go out and try right now to help start-- to help close this digital divide.
Again, my resources are available at the bit.ly, bit.ly/ and then it's case sensitive, capital OTAN, lower case digitalequity. We'll also get the resources up on the Otan website on the previous webinars page that I showed you a few minutes ago. And I think with that, please always reach out to us any questions that you have. Right now the easiest way to connect with us firstname.lastname@example.org, but you can also call. We will-- I don't know if we pick up your call right away. But we will get your call, but email@example.com is the best way to connect with us.