Education technology

Facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources

Pandemic program to boost Alabama student internet use mostly unused

A $100 million program to increase internet usage among low-income Alabama families during the pandemic has gone mostly unused, and the state is sending 300,000 more vouchers in a search for additional takers. While 75,000 students have gained internet access so far through the program, which seeks to make it easier for students to get online for school, around 450,000 students qualify statewide, said Mike Presley, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. The second round of vouchers is being sent by a state contractor to increase participation.

$40 million to North Carolina Connect Students and Communities to High-Speed Internet, Help Educators With Remote Learning

Gov Roy Cooper (R-NC) announced nearly $40 million in funding for NC Student Connect, a new partnership created to address internet connectivity gaps that are a barrier to remote learning for many North Carolina students. When school resumed in August, superintendents estimated that at least 100,000 students still lacked a reliable internet connection at home. NC Student Connect investment includes:

NECA introduces discount broadband programs to aid students in low-income households

NECA is introducing two temporary discount programs to help rural phone and internet providers recognize the needs of students in low-income households for broadband services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The filing, effective Oct 1, will allow carriers to facilitate prolonged at-home student learning by helping low-income households access much needed higher bandwidths or those without broadband access to acquire it. The programs will allow companies to offer:

State of Tennessee helps bridge Digital Divide for Students in Chattanooga and Hamilton County

A network of community partners working to completely bridge the digital divide for Hamilton County (TN) students came together to thank state leaders for dedicating more than $3 million in Tennessee Community CARES funding toward the effort to help students during the pandemic. The new funding helps advance several carefully coordinated initiatives by more than a dozen public-private partners. Hamilton County Schools serves as the hub for reaching the goal of providing all students with internet access - along with the devices needed to learn online.

Cox Investing $60 Million to Close Distance Learning Gap

Saying the COVID-19 pandemic can't be allowed to create an "irreversible" learning gap for students without access to the internet, Cox is teaming up with Common Sense Media to try and do something about it. Cox is pledging $60 million over the next year to help close the digital learning divide. Cox will also extend its offer to new Connect2Compete customers. If they sign up by year's end, they will get two months free, followed by $9.95 per month internet. Cox's outdoor WiFi hotspots will also remain open to all comers.

West Virginia Quickly Builds Statewide Network for Students

With its mountainous topography and sparsely populated areas, West Virginia understands this un-ideal reality as well as any state, so it created what some might call a Band-Aid solution: the Kids Connect Initiative, a unified education network with hundreds of Wi-Fi access points. The project started in early Aug, leaving little time for implementation before Sept 8, the first day of school in West Virginia. The concept was to allow any K-12 or college student the ability to use Wi-Fi from any access point within a network spread over the entire state.

The Students Left Behind By Remote Learning

Shemar, a 12-year-old from East Baltimore, is good at math, and Karen Ngosso, his fourth grade math teacher at Abbottston Elementary School, is one reason why.  Remote learning started in earnest on April 6. For Shemar, that meant just four hours per week of live online instruction — an hour for each of the four main subjects once a week, with nothing on Fridays.

The Federal Government Promised Native American Students Computers and Internet. Many Are Still Waiting.

Computer shortages have raised nationwide concerns about educational inequities, which are amplified in tribal communities that resisted the Bureau of Indian Education’s (BIE) desire for in-person instruction in an effort to control rising cases of COVID-19. At least five BIE-operated schools in Arizona and five in other states were not prepared to start online because the bureau’s late disbursement of federal relief funding delayed purchases for needed laptops and internet hot spots in communities where fewer than half of rural households have access to broadband internet. BIE schools lagg

Keeping Students Linked in California

The Californian students who could benefit the most from the college- and career-focused approach of Linked Learning are the least likely to have the internet and devices needed to access it from home. Across the state, 1.8 million children live in homes without high-speed internet, and nearly 690,000 have no access to devices. Children of color are much more likely to be cut off from virtual learning: Nearly one-quarter of Black families in California and almost one-third each of California’s Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native families do not have high-speed internet access at home.

The internet isn’t a luxury

I’m leading 45 of my colleagues in the Senate to fight for at least $4 billion to be delivered through the E-Rate program so students receive the Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and internet connected devices they need to learn at home. Excluding this critical aid from a new coronavirus relief package—as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Republican lawmakers recently did—will exacerbate already substantial inequities for decades. Sixteen million of our nation’s most vulnerable children will continue to suffer. They will continue to fall behind.