Building your emergency back-to-school kit with reliable connectivity

A simmering demand for reliable connectivity in education turned to a boil during the pandemic when the digital divide–something that many under-connected communities were already facing–exploded. This was felt drastically as the pivot to remote learning exposed a widening gap between students who have access to high-speed internet compared to those who do not.

While there are hopeful signs that the pandemic is waning, schools will continue to rely on solutions that support flexible learning moving forward. From extreme weather knocking districts offline to students trying to stay in the loop when they are stuck at home sick, consistent connectivity is a staple for today’s modernized “pencil box.” It ensures students have access to the resources they need–no matter the circumstances.

With a new school year approaching, and the education sector forever changed in the shadow of the pandemic, there is a growing expectation among students, parents, and government institutions to be better prepared for the future. But preparing for the unexpected is easier said than done. So just how can school districts ready themselves to ensure consistent and reliable connectivity no matter what?

The key to making it happen is to understand the value of emerging technologies and approaches that support enhanced connectivity, such as Private Cellular Networks (PCNs), and leverage the right relief programs that can support investments in these types of solutions to close the digital divide. Only then can schools begin to lay the foundation of reliable connections that students need to combat this growing divide in the face of any unforeseen challenge.…Read More

Savvas Learning Company Teams Up with EveryoneOn to Provide Free WiFi to 100 Families to Support Digital Learning at Home

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Savvas enables teachers to better connect with students by helping to close the digital divide

PARAMUS, NEW JERSEY — May 5, 2021 — To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, Savvas Learning Company, a K-12 next-generation learning solutions leader, has partnered with EveryoneOn.org to honor teachers by helping close the digital divide for students from low-income families. 

As part of its #SavvasThanks campaign for Teacher Appreciation Week 2021, Savvas is making a donation to EveryoneOn.org that will provide free high-speed Internet service to 100 families with school-aged students who are in need of reliable WiFi in their homes for digital learning. EveryoneOn.org is a nonprofit that works to connect low-income families to affordable Internet service, computers, and other digital resources.…Read More

Kajeet Announces Global Expansion, Enters U.K. Market

Leading wireless connectivity provider launches London office, extending award-winning solutions to the U.K.

McLean, Va. – April 21, 2021 – Kajeet®, a leading provider of mobile IoT connectivity, software and hardware solutions that deliver safe, reliable and controlled internet connectivity to students, enterprises, state and local governments and IoT solution providers, announced today its global expansion into the U.K. market. The announcement comes on the heels of significant growth for Kajeet, having more than doubled its customer base and adding new notable hires to its leadership team over the last year.

“Kajeet is mission-focused on closing the digital divide, not just in the U.S., but worldwide,” said chairman, CEO and founder Daniel J. W. Neal. “We are excited to bring our secure, reliable and controlled wireless connectivity solutions to the European market to enable equitable internet access, especially for students. This is but the next step on a path of further geographic expansion driven by our desire to deliver thoughtful and equitable internet access and mobility solutions wherever Kajeet can build upon our successes to date.”…Read More

The U.S. needs billions to close the digital divide

As Americans close out one year of pandemic-related school disruption and head into a second, the digital divide remains a daunting challenge for K-12 public school systems in most states.

Although progress to bridge the divide has been significant, as many as 12 million K-12 students remained digitally underserved just before 2021, according to a report by Common Sense, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and the Southern Education Foundation.

The report, titled Looking Back, Looking Forward: What It Will Take to Permanently Close the K-12 Digital Divide, provides a granular understanding of the digital divide’s impact on students, and offers a set of recommendations at the federal, state, and local levels to permanently close the digital divide.…Read More

Verizon launches free trainings and tools to help educators navigate digital instruction

What you need to know:

  • As the nation faces a surge in Covid-19 cases, and schools continue to grapple with uncertainty and closures, Verizon is providing additional support and remote learning resources for educators, students and parents
  • Teacher Training Pathways offers educators a free platform for professional development
  • Expansion of Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program to include additional student connectivity and teacher professional development for Title I schools

As the ongoing pandemic continues to exacerbate the digital divide in America and increase barriers to digital learning, Verizon is increasing its investment in support of remote learning with the launch of new programs to benefit technology-integrated instruction: Teacher Training Pathways and a new offering within the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program. Developed under the Verizon Innovative Learning program, Verizon’s education initiative focused on addressing barriers to digital inclusion, these programs will bring valuable training and tools to educators and students in support of digital learning and help bring connectivity to  students in under-resourced schools. These efforts are part of Verizon’s continued commitment to Digital Inclusion, a key pillar under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement, and are vital in helping Verizon reach its goal to provide 10 million young people with the digital skills training necessary for them to thrive in a modern economy.

Educators across the nation can now access Teacher Training Pathways, a free platform offering courses aligned to micro-credentials on remote and hybrid learning, instructional technology coaching and more. Created in partnership with the education non-profit Digital Promise, Teacher Training Pathways will help teachers become more efficient and effective in delivering technology-integrated instruction. The platform will feature an evolving library of courses to further develop educators’ digital literacy. Registration is now available for courses designed to help educators address learning challenges in remote instruction, explore education technology tools and develop both synchronous and asynchronous instruction for learners.…Read More

Texas Education Agency and Verizon enable distance learning for 18.9M students in 16 states

For students across Texas and around the country, bridging the digital divide and providing reliable Internet connectivity that enables distance learning for students without Internet access are among the top priorities for state governments, school districts, teachers and parents alike. Many students across the U.S. will start the 2020-2021 school year this month. 

 

Verizon has partnered with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Connectivity initiative to provide up to 18.9 million students in Texas and 15 neighboring states with a simple and quick way to access critical distance learning technologies. Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) public school students in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin will benefit from Verizon’s sponsor-state agreement with the TEA to provide schools in Texas and the 15 other states with discounted service plans for unlimited 4G LTE Internet access, mobile device management (MDM) and other security solutions required for student use. …Read More

When the digital divide is made worse by a pandemic

The digital divide is proving one of the most pervasive and stubborn challenges in U.S. education, and its effects can follow students from kindergarten through college. As if that’s not bad enough, the COVID-19 crisis, which forced students across the globe to learn at home while schools closed physical operations, made inequities even more apparent.

Students in schools all over the U.S. struggled to find existing or reliable internet connections, many didn’t have access to appropriate devices to complete online assignments, others waited for weeks until schools managed to organize device-lending programs, while still others had to share devices with siblings and, sometimes, parents who also had to work from home.

Related content: Family tech nights can narrow the digital divide…Read More

Family tech nights can narrow the digital divide

When we talk about digital equity, the conversation often focuses on providing opportunities for all students to learn in an increasingly connected world. We talk about devices and home connectivity. We talk the importance of parental support. We talk about training all educators to integrate digital tools in their classrooms in meaningful ways.

Seldom, though, does the conversation focus on ensuring that parents acquire the same skills we want for our students.

But when schools support students in transferring their skills to their parents, they are narrowing the digital divide.…Read More

Study highlights plight of students with only one device at home

The digital divide is proving one of the most pervasive and stubborn challenges in U.S. education, and its effects can follow students from kindergarten through college.

A new study confirms that, despite efforts to close the space, the gap between students who have access to devices and the internet and those who lack it compounds equity problems within U.S. schools.

New research from ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning shows that underserved students with access to only one electronic device in their home may find it difficult to complete schoolwork. The homework gap, as it is frequently called, is particularly tough on low-income and rural students. Even when families have one device at home, that device is often a smartphone, which isn’t conducive to completing homework or doing research.…Read More

10 steps for bringing connectivity home

This fall, Cypress-Fairbanks (TX) Independent School District is particularly excited about welcoming back 150 of our underserved elementary, middle, and high school students after they’ve enjoyed their first full summer of district-sponsored Wi-Fi. This group of students is the first to benefit from iConnect, a new program that extends our district’s enterprise network infrastructure with safe and secure learning systems into eligible communities.

For our pilot, we delivered remote wireless connectivity and computing devices to families at the Nayeli House Tanner Road Mobile Home Park in our Houston metro district. What’s more, we’ll soon be expanding iConnect to communities served by four more schools within our footprint. Here are the steps we recommend for getting a similar initiative done in your district.

Step 1: Reframe your mission to meet access needs at home
Although we passed a significant technology bond in 2014 that enables providing students with computing devices at school, which included a total overhaul of our network infrastructure, by 2015 we realized a significant percentage of our students had no internet access at home. This meant we were falling short of our district’s mission—to maximize every student’s potential by providing opportunity for all—because so many of our students lacked the connectivity vital for after-hours learning and collaboration. Taking this perspective, we launched a three-year effort to close the opportunity gap by finding a way to bring access to their homes.…Read More