Essential Conditions

Equitable access

Robust and reliable access to current and emerging technologies and digital resources, with connectivity for all students, including those with special needs, teachers, staff and school leaders

What is it?

To bridge socioeconomic gaps and truly support digital learning for all students, an initiative must ensure sufficient bandwidth and connection speeds to allow learning and teaching to occur anytime, with limited interruptions resulting from infrastructure problems. But equitable access means more than simply providing devices and connectivity. It also means giving every student the opportunity to learn from teachers who understand how to use technology to both enhance learning and create quality learning experiences for students with special needs.

Why is it important?

Technology offers the potential to improve education for disadvantaged students, regardless of at-home availability — but only if all students are able to fully participate. When planning for technology implementation, it’s imperative to consider not only the number of technology devices you need but also how you can leverage available digital resources to meet learning and teaching goals.

Technology has proven particularly effective for meeting the needs of students with special needs. The ISTE Standards require teachers to have access to both the tools and the skills to support this population.

What does it look like?

As part of any systemwide technology plan, leaders should develop a strong foundation of policies addressing the various elements needed for equal access. These policies should:
  • Ensure individuals know how to access the technology
  • Outline where to go for help getting access
  • Be flexible enough to accommodate diverse learners and instructional needs

Join the movement

Based on the ISTE Essential Conditions, the Lead & Transform movement provides district superintendents, CTOs, CIOs, school leaders and other decision makers with a roadmap for planning and building a successful systemwide tech initiative.


Get a custom report

Evaluate your school or district’s progress toward technology integration with the Lead & Transform diagnostic tool. You'll get data that will help you identify where you align with the ISTE Essential Conditions and where you have room to grow.


Equitable access resources


Reflection and Refinement

Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey 2013
Closing the gap