3G Wireless Reconnects Slipping NC Students
3/28/2007—The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, along with technology partners including wireless technology provider Qualcomm (San Diego, CA) and educational IT consultants Digital Millennial Consulting (DMC; Arlington, VA), have launched Project K-Nect, a pilot educational program that leverages broadband smart phones to deliver educational material to high school students.
The project has three core objectives:
- To increase math achievement as measured through state assessments and improved classroom performance.
- To better engage students who have struggled with math.
- To narrow the current digital gap by providing supplemental learning opportunities through mobile smart phones.
Project K-Nect will target approximately 250 secondary at risk students to focus on increasing their math skills. Ninth graders in several North Carolina public schools in will receive smart phones to access supplemental math content aligned with their teachers' lesson plans and course objectives. Students also can communicate and collaborate with each other and access tutors to help them master math skills.
The phones will have a peak throughput of 2.4 Mbps. Safeguards will be in place to assure that students can only communicate with authorized users and that they observe acceptable use policies for the smart phones.
"Project K-Nect gives us a tremendous opportunity to use a device as common as a cell phone to help close the digital divide," said the department’s Director of Instructional Technology Frances Bradburn in a prepared statement. "Students sometimes see their school work as unrelated to current developments and technologies or uninteresting to altogether. We hope that by using current technology in a new way, we can re-engage students and help them reach important academic goals."
The smart phones and service will be free of charge to students and the schools thanks to a $1 million grant from Qualcomm, as part of its Wireless Reach initiative, which provides 3G wireless technology to underserved communities in the hopes of fostering economic and social development with a focus on education, governance, healthcare and public safety.
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David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and marketing consultant, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.