Mobile Broadband

Disadvantaged Students in Georgia District Get Home Internet Service

Fayette County Schools in Georgia will provide its economically disadvantaged students with free wireless Internet service at home in an effort to close the district's digital divide.

Fayette County has a bring-your-own-device policy, but some students can't afford to buy their own devices. The district already works with Title I parent liaisons in its elementary and middle schools to identify qualifying families and loan them equipment. Now those families will also receive filtered mobile broadband service to ensure students can access educational resources from home.

“The pen and paper days are gone in school, but when kids needed paper and pencil, we provided the materials,” said Clarice Howard, Title I Coordinator for Fayette County Schools, in a prepared statement. “Today all students need access to computing devices. Through Title I funds, our district provided devices for those who couldn’t afford them, and, with the need to extend the learning day, it’s our responsibility to level the playing field for these children by providing equipment for connectivity after school.”

The district has partnered with the wireless service provider Kajeet to give Title I students a Kajeet SmartSpot for accessing online textbooks, apps, e-mail, documents, sites and their teachers when they are outside of school. The SmartSpot is a portable mobile hotspot that works with the Kajeet Sentinel cloud portal to filter student connectivity. Districts and schools can block access to specific sites and disable the service during specific time periods to help keep students focused on educational content and reduce costs. The Kajeet service also provides teachers and administrators with learning analytics reports to help them monitor student progress.

Kajeet has also partnered with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the National Title I Association to produce a toolkit for districts, “Rethinking Educational Equity in a Digital Era: Forging a Strong Partnership between District Title I and Technology Leaders,” which is available through Kajeet's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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