Helping Students Affected by the Digital Divide

Author: Rich Atkinson


A Computer Chasm

In the late 1990s, while I was in college, I lived in an off-campus apartment. I didn’t own a computer nor have internet access. So my introduction to the internet was made by logging on to a computer in the university’s library.

Today, a public library or school may be the only place students can access computers. A computer chasm exists for students in rural, inner-city, and international settings with limited or no computer access compared with students in more influential cities, countries, and communities. Many students from inner-city schools don’t own a home computer or digital device. So what are some solutions to this digital divide for students who don’t have access to a computer at home and even sometimes at school?

Contact Businesses and Organizations Who Can Help
If you are in the U.S. or abroad, and your school has few or limited digital resources, consider contacting local businesses that may donate new or used computers to your school. Find organizations on the internet concerned with closing the global digital divide. Look for one in your city, state, or country. Some organizations are setting up computer labs internationally, while others are refurbishing used computers and giving them to schools.

Here are a few you can check out:

  • Computers Without Borders (.net)
  • Children of The Nations (

Enlist Others to Get Involved in The Cause

  • Donations
    Donate new or used computers or digital devices to schools or organizations that help resource students and schools. In Minnesota, Tech For Success takes donated computers and repairs and refurbishes them for students and individuals. Find organizations in your city, state, or country where you can donate your laptop or computer supplies. Tech For Success lists ideas of what you can give away to help someone else.
  • Adopt a school
    A school that has an abundance of resources can give to a rural or inner-city school that has a need. Teachers, this can be a classroom project. Adopt a sister city by partnering with a school in another community or country and resource them with a computer lab.

Instead of looking at the digital divide as a problem, brainstorm solutions. Involve local businesses to see if they will donate new computers. Enlist your students’ help. What is one thing you can do as a class project?

For an additional blog post addressing students’ digital needs read Helping Students Who Don’t Have the Internet at Home.

About the Author

Rich Atkinson

Rich Atkinson began his writing career with a community paper in Ohio.

He has worked for a magazine. Travel assignments have taken him outside the country to Haiti and Guatemala. In the U.S., he has journeyed to Atlanta, Boston, Milwaukee, and many other places for feature stories.

When not writing, Rich finds time to read and enjoys listening to authors discuss writing on podcasts and in YouTube videos.

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