Closing The Digital Divide
Connected Futures and Tech and Family Resource Hubs
The COVID-19 pandemic called Detroit’s digital divide into stark relief. Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) along with the DTE Energy Foundation, Quicken Loans Community Fund, Skillman Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, General Motors and the Kellogg Foundation addressed a historical digital divide through the Connected Futures Project, by providing students with wireless tablets through a $23 million investment. This initiative enabled more than 44,000 DPSCD students and families to receive wireless tablets and internet access for in-home use in the summer of 2020. Phase three of the Connected Futures initiative began on March 1, 2021, with a planned expansion to all new Kindergarten and 9th-grade students. These devices include subsidized LTE data for the full school year, immediately connecting students without wired internet connections at home, and are the property of the student and family.
Devices with internet connectivity are necessary for students to engage with online learning, but insufficient to support families facing technical and knowledge barriers as they used these new resources. Therefore, the District operates 10 Technology and Family Resource Hubs throughout the city. DPSCD provides direct resources to families, including digital device troubleshooting, repair, replacement, and online learning support. As of February 28, more than 12,000 visitors have used the Technology and Family Resources Hubs for technical support. All families also have access to broadband internet sign-up support, opening even more avenues for reliable connectivity for students.
Innovation in education is about more than just technology. It's about leveraging technology to foster lifelong learners who are agents of change. DPSCD believes that Connected Futures and the Technology and Family Resource Hubs have created the foundation for Detroit students, staff, and families to embark on that lifelong path as digital users and learners – and agents of change.