Free internet could erase the digital divide

Local leaders must play a critical role in closing the digital divide for 18 million American households that have access to the internet but can’t afford to connect, according to a new report.

The urgent prompt comes from EducationSuperHighway, a national nonprofit with a mission to close the broadband affordability gap. The organization released its second No Home Left Offline report on the action needed to accelerate Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) adoption.

The ACP is a $14.2 billion federal broadband benefit funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that provides eligible households with a monthly discount of up to $30 per month (up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands) and a one-time $100 discount toward a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. 51.6 million households, including 17.7 million unconnected households, are eligible for the ACP, yet only 13 million (25% of those eligible) have enrolled.…Read More

Private wireless is the key to K-20 digital transformation

Educational institutions across the United States are investing in digital technologies that, aside from transforming the learning experience, promise to improve campus operations, security and communications, and open the door to new e-services for students and staff. To realize the promise of digital transformation, schools at all levels (K-20) need solutions that can extend secure and reliable broadband connectivity campus wide.

Schools and higher educational institutions typically rely on Wi-Fi and Ethernet for connectivity. So, it’s no surprise that that many are upgrading or extending their Wi-Fi networks to prepare for digitalization. But Wi-Fi has limitations in important areas such as multi-user capacity, coverage, reliability, security, and mobility. It’s also prone to disruptions caused by interference and obstacles. These limitations could keep institutions from reaping the full benefits of broadband and digitalization.

Fortunately, there’s a better alternative. Private wireless networks (4.9G/LTE and 5G) enable institutions to use standardized cellular technologies and new spectrum options – including unlicensed spectrum in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band – to meet the stringent demands of digital applications. By complementing their existing Ethernet and Wi-Fi infrastructure with dedicated cellular connectivity, institutions can provide broadband connectivity for everyone and everything, and support a new generation of campus services.…Read More

Kajeet Awards $550,000 To 22 Organizations for Purchasing Connectivity Solutions That Drive Digital Inclusion in Education

MCLEAN, VA. (PRWEB) JUNE 23, 2022 — Kajeet®, a leading provider of wireless connectivity, software and hardware solutions that deliver secure, reliable and managed IoT solutions to over 3,000 businesses, schools and districts, and state and local governments, today announced the 22 recipients of its 2022 Homework Gap Grant. To further the mission of closing the Digital Divide for students across the United States, each grant recipient will receive up to $25,000, which they may use for any combination of Kajeet Education Broadband solutions, including WiFi hotspots, school bus WiFi, LTE-embedded Chromebooks and routers.

“With many students returning to in-person learning after a two-year hiatus, we cannot lose momentum in working to close the Homework Gap, which still plagues millions of American students,” said Daniel J.W. Neal, chairman, CEO and founder of Kajeet. “The Homework Gap existed long before the pandemic and continues to perpetuate inequities and cause enormous, missed opportunities. As a community, we must make every effort possible to connect students outside the classroom to the plethora of educational resources and opportunities that are only available to them via the Internet. The Kajeet Homework Gap Grant program is but one example among many of what we can do together to create complete digital equity – and maximize opportunities for success – for all of our students.”

The 22 grant winners are:…Read More

3 reasons E-rate funding remains critical for school internet access

The federal E-rate program remains a vital and trusted funding source to bring “mission-critical” internet access to schools and libraries, according to an annual report tracking trends and developments related to the federal funding stream.

The 2021 E-rate Trends Report, from E-rate compliance services firm Funds For Learning, arrives as school systems work through COVID-related impacts, including the Homework Gap and on- and off-campus broadband needs.

Responses from a record-breaking 2,164 applicants indicate that E-rate remains essential, and network security is now an urgent concern.…Read More

11 facts about K-12 IT leadership

Broadband access and the ever-growing equity gap are among K-12 IT leaders’ top concerns, according to CoSN’s annual IT Leadership Survey.

The survey, released in collaboration with the Ed-Fi Alliance and other partners, is based on a national survey of nearly 400 school systems and provides a nuanced look at the challenges K-12 IT leadership has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were proud to once again work alongside the CoSN team in developing this report,” said Sean Casey, manager of strategic partnerships at the Ed-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit devoted to helping school districts and states achieve data interoperability. “At Ed-Fi, our goal is to define data standards to solve problems shared by all educators and to arm the learning community with useful information, as found in this report, for conscientious decision-making that leads to better outcomes for learners everywhere.”…Read More

11 facts about today’s K-12 IT leadership

Broadband access and the ever-growing equity gap are among K-12 IT leaders’ top concerns, according to CoSN’s annual IT Leadership Survey.

The survey, released in collaboration with the Ed-Fi Alliance and other partners, is based on a national survey of nearly 400 school systems and provides a nuanced look at the challenges K-12 IT leadership has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were proud to once again work alongside the CoSN team in developing this report,” said Sean Casey, manager of strategic partnerships at the Ed-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit devoted to helping school districts and states achieve data interoperability. “At Ed-Fi, our goal is to define data standards to solve problems shared by all educators and to arm the learning community with useful information, as found in this report, for conscientious decision-making that leads to better outcomes for learners everywhere.”…Read More

Time to get real with equity

For Todd Dugan, superintendent of Bunker Hill CUSD #8, a small, remote district in southern Illinois, issues surrounding back-to-school COVID-19 style are not abstract but all too real.

Some of the district’s biggest priorities include:

  • Rural struggles–and successes–as COVID hit
  • Address learning loss that comes with inequity
  • As school resumes, freedom of choice

In this conversation with eSchool News, Todd tries to keep the glass half full as he looks to take advantage of these incredible disruptions to education.…Read More

How to ensure home broadband access for every student

When the coronavirus pandemic forced students into remote learning this past spring, many telecommunications companies stepped up to offer free or deeply discounted home broadband access to families who couldn’t afford it. Now, those temporary offers have largely expired — and yet remote learning seems likely to continue in at least some capacity when school resumes this fall.

This raises key questions for K-12 leaders to resolve: How will students from low-income families connect to the internet to learn from home if they can’t attend school physically this fall? What role can school systems play in ensuring home broadband access for all students, given the budget crisis many districts will be facing next year?

Related content: What the pandemic has revealed about digital equity…Read More

How to make remote learning easily accessible

When school starts again in the fall, it’s likely that a significant number of students will still be learning remotely. To make classrooms less crowded and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many states and districts are considering a hybrid approach in which some students attend school and some learn from home, such as by having students alternate between in-person and remote learning.

One of the key lessons learned in the shift to remote learning this spring was the need to make online instruction easily accessible to everyone. K-12 school systems have taken many actions to ensure that students have the technology they need to learn from home, such as distributing mobile devices and wireless hotspots to students who need them and even negotiating deals with internet service providers to extend free or discounted broadband service to low-income families.

Related content: 5 ways to build a community of learners online…Read More

Broadband expands equitable access to education, workforce prep

Digital learning not only plays a crucial role in preparing today’s students for the jobs of tomorrow, it also has an important role in providing equity and access to education–especially in smaller and remote school districts. This makes access to adequate and reliable broadband even more important as the development of new technologies continues.

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is now preparing to accommodate next-generation technologies such as 5G, virtual reality, robotics, and esports.

Related content: 7 things supporting broadband best practices…Read More