Internet access is not equally distributed across Australia. It is important to avoid assuming that other people have the same level of digital access as you.
There are two main reasons that families might not have reliable internet access at home: availability and cost. Most urban and semi-remote areas in Australia have internet access available through wired or wireless networks, but in many areas reception is poor or intermittent. The cost of a fast internet connection with large data limits can be prohibitive for some families, so watching long videos or downloading large files can be difficult or expensive.
If access is limited
If you or a friend needs internet access or access to a computer for schoolwork or support outside of school hours, all libraries in NSW offer free internet access to members, and library membership is free for all NSW residents. If you need to print something out, you may be asked to cover the cost of printing.
To find your nearest library, check out the map of NSW libraries or call your local council. If you do not know your local council, you can call the NSW Office of Local Government on 02 4428 4100 for more information.
Planning for limited access
If you are a teacher planning a unit of work or assessment task that requires internet access, you might want to consider providing alternative ways for students to access online content. People with limited access to the internet may struggle to watch long videos or download large files.
Some possible alternatives include:
- providing printed copies of any digital worksheets
- hosting videos or other large files on the school’s network
- designing the task or unit of work so that it can be completed without internet access.
The number of households with access to the internet is rising, but access to reliable internet is not available for all students in all places. It is important to ensure that all students have access to the same educational opportunities to promote equity.
Curriculum and syllabus links
NSW Syllabus outcomes
Australian Curriculum content descriptions
- 'Australia's digital divide is not going away', The Conversation, accessed 21 March 2022
- 'NSW.net', State Library of NSW, accessed 21 March 2022