For years policymakers have fretted about the “digital divide,” that poor students are less likely to have computers and high-speed internet at home than rich students. The fear was, and is, that technology might cause achievement gaps between rich and poor students to grow if it’s easier for rich kids to use educational software, practice computer coding or learn about the world online.
A new 2017 survey of technology use at home shows the gap in computer access is rapidly closing. When it comes to mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, the gap has virtually vanished. Even high-speed internet access is becoming more commonplace. Nearly 75 percent of families making less than $30,000 a year said they had high-speed internet access in 2017, up from 46 percent in 2013. More than 70 percent of low-income families said they had a computer at home.