How do you deal with Internet "Have-nots"greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grady's school webmasters forum : One Thread
The media frequently reports that more and more folks are on-line. But a large part of our school's community is not. While students usually have access to the web at school, they often don't at home. Making information "web-only" risks leaving out part of the community, particularly parents. Of course a lot of folks who are connected never actually go on-line.
How do you manage this?
-- Terry Kearns (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 11, 2001
RE: Internet have-nots
It's an interesting point which seems obvious at first glance. The only information that we submit exclusively to the online community is online resources. Every other piece of information posted on our website (district-level science website) is distributed to the schools FIRST by traditional means.
The tricky part is this. Traditionally there has been an information chain that starts with the district office. The DO sends information to principals or a designated science person in the building, who in turn is supposed to pass the information on to teachers. It is virtually impossible in a district as large as ours to communicate directly with all the teachers by traditional paper methods on every piece of information we receive.
Of course, information often gets stuck at the principal/science designee level and teachers never get the info or get it too late. To complicate matters, there may be information that a particular principal does not want to disseminate (especially if it involves a teacher being released for training, e.g.). That's pretty rare, though, and usually neglect (over-burdened administrators) is the reason information doesn't land in the right hands as opposed to malice.
So, the website is a way around that problem, but only for those teachers with internet access. We use the web as a supplement to traditional methods of communication, not a substitute. There is no denying, however, that there is a potential advantage to teachers with internet access, depending on how reliable their school is at getting out information from the district. I hope that is an incentive for them to GET online. And some things, like our discussion forum and internet resources, are only possible on the web.
-- Michael Gatton (email@example.com), April 24, 2001.