COVID-19 Response

900 San Diego Students to Get Always-Connected PCs

A grant from Qualcomm Technologies, a San Diego-area company, will enable the San Diego Unified School District to deploy 900 new personal computers to students. What's unique is that the units have built-in cellular connectivity. The company has also committed to a one-time $141,000 donation to cover the cellular connectivity costs for the devices.

Since the closure of school facilities in the face of COVID-19, the district has distributed about 50,000 district-owned devices to students, to enable them to participate in remote learning.

The latest models include a Qualcomm chipset — the Snapdragon — which has the cell connectivity built in as a standard feature, enabling users to remain connected without WiFi.

Qualcomm's donation to the San Diego Unified School District features the company's Snapdragon chipset, which provides for cellular connectivity. Source: Qualcomm Technologies

Qualcomm's donation to the San Diego Unified School District features the company's Snapdragon chipset, which provides for cellular connectivity. Source: Qualcomm Technologies

The grant will be presented to the district's board of education later this summer. Once approved, the district will develop a plan to distribute the "always connected" PCs.

This isn't the first time Qualcomm has worked with the district. Previously, the company ran a program to help prepare students for careers in tech by installing a Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab at their corporate headquarters and in several schools throughout the county. The labs allow students to do hands-on activities in engineering to help them experience STEM and to help educators learn how to engage students in STEM.

"We are deeply committed to closing the connectivity gap," said Superintendent Cindy Marten, in a statement. "While we continue advocating for additional state and federal support, Qualcomm has stepped up and shown why San Diego really is America's finest city. This partnership goes a long way at supporting our students and teachers."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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