The State of Connecticut, under the leadership of Governor Lamont, has been working to be more efficient and to better serve our residents in ways – including moving more tools online. That shift started even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but that experience showed us just how sorely these efforts were needed. This shift means that residents spend more time with their families, growing their businesses, and enjoying our state – rather than spending time in line, and printing physical sheets of paper.
That said, not every resident has equal access to broadband, and the digital tools required to participate in this new world. To make sure every resident can participate fully in today’s digital world — from online learning, job seeking, telehealth, and taking advantage of state services — the, Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology administered by DAS, is leading the State’s digital equity efforts. With funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Commission will soon begin a year-long process of identifying and addressing barriers to technology access toward the goal of digital equity for all residents.
But what exactly is “digital equity”? One useful definition identifies four key components: high-speed, affordable Internet access; a computing device (not just a cell phone); the skills to use online resources effectively; and technical support.
Some estimate that a quarter of all Connecticut households and more than a third of low-income households do not have high-speed Internet access. And many of our neighbors who are online still do not possess the digital skills needed to stay safe online. Technology can be a powerful, enabling force, but unfortunately, our state’s digital divide cuts between the haves and have-nots.
Our mission is that every learner in Connecticut benefits from the full potential of technology to support personalized and impactful teaching, learning, research, and advancement.
We envision a day when every Connecticut resident is connected, equipped, and skilled to make full use of digital tools and services.
To close the digital divide, the Commission will:
Host town halls and enlist the input of everyday residents on their use of technology and any barriers they experience.
Conduct research to take a deeper dive into the factors making technology adoption and use difficult. These findings will help us define a comprehensive plan toward achieving digital equity in Connecticut.
For more information about the State’s Digital Equity efforts, contact Doug Casey with the Commission at email@example.com