Digital Equity

A national leader in the adult education space, World Education-US infuses digital equity into all areas of our work, enabling everyone to thrive as learners, workers, and family and community members in the digital world. Even prior to forming the EdTech Center to support the U.S. adult education field with digital transformation, World Education has been a leading provider of technical assistance, professional development, research, and innovation on advancing digital learning, digital literacy, and digital inclusion for decades. World Education remains a go-to organization at the federal, state, and regional levels, working with various national organizations, employers, policymakers, and tech developers on issues and considerations around digital equity.

Our diverse work – from ensuring the needs of immigrants and refugees will be addressed in State Digital Equity Plans, to leading the Digital US digital equity coalition and designing inclusive technology tools and practices, and building the capacity of learners and workers to leverage AI – demonstrates World Education’s commitment to and expertise in developing an equitable ecosystem for advancing digital equity and digital resilience for all of us.

Featured Projects

  • Digital US: World Education designed and coordinates the Digital US coalition, with over 25 members working nationally to ensure that all of US have technology skills and digital resilience to thrive in work and life. Digital US represents employers, service providers, policymakers, philanthropists and other stakeholders collaborating to close digital skills gaps. The coalition designed, named, piloted, and supported widespread adoption of 1) the Digital Navigator model for personalized digital inclusion supports, and 2) the term digital resilience for redefining the digital literacy required today with technology changing rapidly. Digital US has also supported and developed resources for the Employer Network Advancing Digital Skills and Equity, such as the Employer Roadmap.
  • Transforming Immigrant Digital Equity (TIDE): To serve adult immigrant and refugee English language learners equitably and holistically, there is a pressing imperative to educate and engage service providers, policy makers, institutional decision-makers, and advocates for re-envisioning adult education, digital equity, and immigration at the national, state, and local levels. TIDE, which builds upon the findings of the Remote ESOL Project, will leverage the unprecedented opportunity provided by the Digital Equity Act to dramatically expand access to ESOL learning and related immigrant inclusion supports for immigrants and refugees through scalable, sustainable program models and services that optimize the use of technology.
  • Digital Navigators Connecting Communities: World Education, in partnership with AT&T, is enhancing community-based organizations at five locations across the nation through the implementation of co-designed digital navigation services. Through a thoughtful needs analysis and digital service integration, device distribution, and intentional staff training, this partnership will positively impact the digital inclusion needs of the community members who engage with these sites.
  • Innovating Digital Education in Adult Learning (IDEAL) Consortium: The IDEAL Consortium helps member states establish quality innovative distance, blended, and digital learning programs by offering professional development, providing technical support, and facilitating a network of education leaders from across the country. We aim to ensure that all learners have access to quality learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom. IDEAL also sponsors the EdTech Center’s monthly EdTech Strategy Sessions, which convene leaders, practitioners, educators, and more to discuss distance learning.
  • Digital Resilience in the American Workforce (DRAW): World Education co-leads DRAW with Jobs for the Future (JFF) and Safal Partners. DRAW is an initiative of the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), aimed at better preparing adult education practitioners who support learners that struggle to fully engage in tasks that demand the use of digital technologies. Through DRAW, we will provide the field with flexible, evidence-based, and piloted strategies and materials that help teachers build the digital literacy skills and digital resilience of adult learners.
  • CrowdED Learning: CrowdED Learning serves as the EdTech Center’s core open education resources (OER initiative), with a mission of implementing and testing products and processes that make it easier for instructors, service providers and adult learners to create, locate, organize, and share free and open content relevant to their specific needs. In March 2020, CrowdED Learning also launched SkillBlox, a free, experimental platform that allows instructors and program staff to readily locate learning activities by skill and then select, organize, and share skill-aligned playlists of content with learners. To concurrently expand the volume of resource options within SkillBlox, CrowdED Learning supports a number of EdTech Maker Space events, aimed at providing service learning opportunities for educators to learn new skills while creating, curating, and adapting open content to be freely used by others.
  • Readability for All: The EdTech Center has partnered with Adobe, the University of Central Florida and Readability Matters to explore how text personalization can improve readability in digital texts and literacy for all ages and abilities. As remote work and remote learning become the new normal, being able to effectively engage with and read digital documents is now a necessity. World Education also participates in The Readability Consortium.
  • Stay tuned to learn how World Education will be supporting diverse community-based organizations in five cities to design and offer personalized Digital Navigator services over the next year, connecting 5,000 individuals with access to internet, devices, and digital literacy training.

Featured Resources

  • Building a Digitally Resilient Workforce: Creating On-Ramps to Opportunity | Digital US: To unlock opportunity for all Americans and create an equitable recovery, we must support digital skills development for the 32 million adults who cannot use a computer, and half of all Americans who are not comfortable learning online. Our inaugural report highlights the urgency—and imperative—of this work as digital skills divides exacerbate existing inequities.
  • Digital Navigator Playbook & Resource Hub | Digital US: The Digital Navigator services model is a solution to address both digital access as well as learning and upskilling, and at scale. This comprehensive approach addresses multiple layers of becoming digitally included. Its goal is to ensure residents receive on-demand tech support and relevant information to secure connectivity and devices, as well as access to foundational digital skills, learning and job training.
  • Peer Digital Navigators Key to Digital Equity | World Education: Research into closing digital divides, especially for communities of color and immigrants, points to the value of educators having lived experience, cultural and language competencies, and the trust of the community. This is also true for Digital Navigators, or staff or volunteers working to connect individuals to the Internet, devices, and support for digital skills. This piece highlights two organizations that are training their participants to serve as “Peer Digital Navigators” to help colleagues, classmates, or community members with their digital inclusion needs.
  • Findings from a National Landscape Scan on Adult Digital Literacy Instruction | Digital Resilience in the American Workforce: With the urgency of adult digital skill development as a backdrop, the DRAW initiative conducted a national landscape scan to identify existing resources and effective approaches for digital skills development, skill definitions and frameworks, assessment, and practitioner professional development. This report’s findings will inform the design of forthcoming professional development for adult educators by answering this primary research question: What training resources and approaches are most relevant for educators seeking to increase digital literacy and digital resilience for an adult learner population?
  • Lessons Learned In Workforce Innovation: How Six States Are Planning To Advance Digital Skills For Equitable Economic Participation | National Governors Association: Governors are prioritizing digital skill development across the education and training continuum, from K-12 curriculum to upskilling and reskilling for workers and adult learners.
  • Closing the Digital Divide Benefits Everyone, Not Just the Unconnected | Common Sense and Boston Consulting Group: In this new report, Common Sense and Boston Consulting Group explore how essential services in four areas—education, health care, government, and employment—can be even more dramatically improved by closing the digital divide to ensure greater use of internet-based technologies. World Education was interviewed for this report.
  • To easily search through all available EdTech Center resources, visit the EdTech Center resources page. For additional World Education and partner resources, visit TIDE’s Digital Equity Resources page.