From Access to Use: Building an Equitable and Student-Centered Educational Technology Ecosystem for Correctional Education
Having access to and being able to skillfully use technology is no longer a luxury, but a requirement for navigating daily life in the United States. We encounter and interact with technology in so many contexts, including education. Educational technology has profoundly changed participation in education programs at all levels. Effective educational technology use can expand access to education programming and content; provide new tools for instructors to communicate with students, teach lessons, and increase learning; and ensure students develop the expertise in using the technology they need for success in further education, work, and life. Students who are participating in education while incarcerated need the same experience with technology, both to expand their access to quality education programming and to improve their digital literacy skills in preparation for release.
“Providing access to current technology to incarcerated students is an important equity and reentry issue.” -Building the Technology Ecosystem for Correctional Education: Brief and Discussion Guide, p. 31
Despite advances in recent years, in part due to pandemic recovery efforts and legislation to expand postsecondary education opportunities for individuals impacted by incarceration, access to and use of educational technology in corrections facilities lags far behind that of the community. To close this gap, some correctional education leaders are creating policy and technical environments that enable the use of quality and secure technology to advance teaching and learning. As described by RTI in Building the Technology Ecosystem for Correctional Education: Brief and Discussion Guide, developed for the U.S. Department of Education, this starts with developing a vision for the planned instructional experience for students.