Hotspots help bridge digital divide in Wisconsin

At Indian Trail High School and Academy in Kenosha, students can take the internet home with them using mobile Wi-Fi hotspots from the school library.

The devices, paired with school laptop computers, give students online access outside school hours for homework. Otherwise, those without the service at home could fall behind in classes such as Advanced Placement government and science.

In Wisconsin, 15 school districts are using the Kajeet mobile hotspots to help bridge the learning gap between students who have internet access at home and those who don’t.

Wisconsin is third among states in use of the Kajeet devices in schools, behind only California and Texas, with use growing this year.

The timing was good for Vernon Solomon, an Indian Trail senior, whose home computer died just before the deadline for a school project.

“I thought, ‘I need a ray of sunshine about now,'” Solomon said.

He has since become a regular user of the loaner hotspots. The service is restricted, in that he can’t reach every website, but it works well for school assignments, Solomon said.

Green Bay’s public schools now have 350 of the mobile hotspots, up from 125 when the School District implemented the program a couple of years ago.

Many students in Green Bay qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch, according to school officials, and many of those families don’t have internet access at home.

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