- Digital classrooms–and their remote students–are here to stay
- School facilities face unprecedented demand for broadband across education sites
The introduction of always-connected PCs and Chromebooks continues to be the catalyst for digitally liberating many students. Now is an especially exciting time to turn to this idea as PC and Chromebook battery life innovation, as well as performance, speed, audio, and video enhancement, is finally getting to the level needed to handle the digital criteria and learning throughout a school day and beyond.
Hotspots were heralded as the rescue, but often without weighing the pros and cons, especially in relevance to long-term solutions. What’s been overlooked is the substantial amount of learning time wasted just to leverage hotspots for learning. Connected laptops are a streamlined solution as the connection is built in, flexible and fitting into the ever-changing education system without the disruption of time.
Laptops built on Snapdragon bring advanced processor technology that enable mobile features and benefits on these devices. A laptop or Chromebook powered by Snapdragon could provide up to 20 hours of battery life and enable hours of digital learning, providing enhanced performance and greatly improved battery life.
In living our organization’s mission to develop a cutting-edge new generation of always-on, always connected platforms for student devices, our team is purpose-building devices for the most optimum learning. Our focus is to create devices that:
- Uniquely provide considerably longer battery life than traditional student devices, often 15-20 hours.
- Deliver increased performance. We recognize that video conferencing is likely just the first of many processing-heavy experiences that will become the norm for digital learning.
- Offer embedded 4G/LTE connectivity to enable learning from virtually anywhere.
- Reduce the asset management demands of school officials by eliminating hotspots and other complicated connectivity accessories.
Yet, technology alone will not solve these issues. Learning must be relevant to the modalities effective for each child. By simplifying the technology demands, school officials can refocus their efforts on pedagogy and assessments to ensure every child meets their full potential.
The most significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may be behind us, but digital classrooms–and their remote students–are here to stay. To continue advancing students throughout these innovative environments, adopting these technologies could be the solution educators are seeking.
When schools globally needed to connect more students, they leaned on solutions they knew and understood: low-end devices and some means of connectivity. Among the connectivity options available based on affordability and local infrastructure for students, Wi-Fi from buildings and vehicles, as well as cellular hotspots, are becoming more difficult to access given passwords and no longer being available to the public.
Hotspots have been the preferred option in industrialized nations with ample budgets and local cellular coverage, yet even these models often reveal weaknesses as they were not intended for long-term education use. For example:
- Data plans without filtering can expose students to inappropriate content, according to the Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Network. In the U.S., this is a violation of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
- School IT officials are left managing twice the number of devices with a laptop and hotspot per student, creating an asset management challenge
- Schools struggle with lost hotspots and cables, as well as issues related to their charging cycles before battery capacity becomes an issue
- Students seen carrying hotspots face the stigma of being associated with being less fortunate, according to the Urban Institute study, “Child Poverty and Adult Success”
School facilities face unprecedented demand for broadband across education sites, as the number of student devices grew during the pandemic. With school hours and learning demands on students trending up, according to PNAS, relying on the same old architectures and connectivity will very soon hold back tomorrow’s digital education. Concurrently, as more curriculums go digital and incorporate online learning components, the demand will continue to grow for laptop capabilities that extend beyond just word processing.
The Security Factor
With the increasing frequency of cyberattacks targeting K-12 districts, local wireless networks are often targeted to help disseminate the virus to more devices. In recent attacks, school officials shut down their wireless networks, advising stakeholders to not use the network. But having a fleet of devices with built-in 5G or 4G LTE provides a disaster recovery plan, allowing connectivity and digital learning to continue, even following an attack.
Among the greatest challenges that educators face in this post-pandemic world is the ability to supply devices and connectivity to the 1.3 billion children who do not have internet access at home, as identified by UNICEF. Further, the 2020 State of Broadband Report confirms that 46 percent of the world is left out of the online classroom. Further, the recent report from Futuresource LTD confirms that, among the 1.6B K-12 students globally, the universal penetration of school and government-issued devices is below 9 percent.
Digital liberation is the future of the education system. Elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions need to think ahead of the game and start dedicating resources and substantial effort to delivering high-quality, efficient technology resources that can keep up with modern society. Children must take these tools and resources and use them for good, otherwise, without liberation, students will not be able to reach their full potential or succeed in their future endeavors.
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