Before going one-to-one, this district is helping every kid get home wi-fi

Ensuring wi-fi access at home or on the school bus is a top priority for a district still planning its one-to-one

The typical one-to-one computing initiative comes with a lengthy to-do list that includes (but isn’t limited to) mapping out vision statements, coming up with the funds to pay for the devices, selecting them, buying them, insuring them, training students and teachers how to use them effectively, and making sure wi-fi systems can handle the new burden. Add concepts like blended and flipped learning to the equation and you come up with yet another to-do list item: Make sure students can actually use their devices when they aren’t physically on campus and within wi-fi range.

Put simply, asking a fifth-grade student to watch an instructional video before the next day’s flipped classroom science lesson will fall on deaf ears if the child doesn’t have access to the internet at home. The same point can be made for the athlete who is whisked off to a game or swim meet right after school and is unable to do her homework on the bus or while sitting in the bleachers.

Little Falls Central School District in Little Falls, N.Y., wants to avoid these problems by determining how many of its students lack internet access at home and then “filling in” that gap by working with Verizon and OpenRoom to either introduce the families to their wi-fi service options (for those that can afford it) or equip pupils with 3G- or 4G-enabled devices (for those that are financially unable to pay for the service).…Read More

Flipping the classroom when home access is a problem

A lack of reliable internet access at home can make flipping a challenge, but by no means an impossibility

Ed. note: Jess Peterson will co-present a related session, “Flipping the Classroom in Low-Socioeconomic Schools,” at this year’s FETC conference in Orlando, on Friday Jan. 15.

Ask any educator, and they’ve probably at least heard of flipping the classroom. There are articles for days about the benefits and rewards to be reaped from flipping. Plenty of teachers have given it a go, or at least considered it. Too many teachers have ruled it out on account of their students’ lack of access.

It’s true that our students come from all walks of life. We see the ones with the new Jordans or the latest iPhone, and their peers wearing the old hand-me-down sweater. All of them are our future. All of them are entitled to the best education possible. Only some of them are equipped with the means to achieve their fullest potential.…Read More