Educators must unplug their ideas about students’ tech abilities

The digital divide isn’t what you may think it is.

Too often, says Tisha Lewis Ellison, an educator may create an assignment using a computer or a smartphone and already have an idea what their students may be able to create. Sometimes this idea is based on previous assignments; other times it’s on how they think a student accesses digital technologies at home.

That assumption, says Lewis Ellison, an associate professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, shortchanges the students and creates a false sense of what they’re actually capable of.

“Today’s millennials and younger kids, if they have access to a cellphone for instance, they can not only record videos, they can create all kinds of things. They can produce a movie all on their phones,” she says. “When we’re giving these children or youth the opportunity to create and be expressive, that’s when they feel liberated.”

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