March 3, 2014
Much of the Northeast and Midwest face school delays and closures again. School administrators, teachers and parents continued to be concerned about the number of days students are missing due to weather. While students love the days off, the cancellations mean headaches for everyone else. Snow days cost time and money and leave many students behind.
Districts are looking at ways to cram in as much instructional time as possible, including, in some places, decreasing recess to keep the pace moving so additional days aren’t added onto the calendar. Many teachers may try to prepare ahead of time, by sending home assignments with students before the snow hits.
The Virtual School Day
A recent CNN article pointed to a few school districts that are using school-provided laptops to extend the learning when staff and students are stuck at home. Pascack Valley Regional District in New Jersey was one of the districts giving the “virtual school day” a try this winter.
The results? The work was completed. Students and teachers communicated. Attendance was higher than a normal school day.
Internet Access for All Students
Even when student are provided laptops or tablets, many don’t have access to broadband at home. In fact, approximately 40 percent of students do not have the Internet connection they need at home to support a virtual school day. Unless a school is certain 100 percent of its students have access, it would be unfair to give assignments to only those who did.
While not all schools are ready to implement a 1:1 technology, the fact is, more will be heading that direction as new assessments are required. Snow days might be easier for school districts to digest if students are able to keep up with work at home. With school-issued laptops and tablets for students, comes the need for making safe broadband available at home.
For many parents who are not able to take off from work and stay home with their snowed-in kids, a great deal of peace of mind can be found in the idea that school work is continuing at home. The Kajeet SmartSpot device is a portable hotspot that provides safe mobile broadband for those students who don’t have Internet at home. Currently used by 15 school districts around the country, Kajeet is helping to make any day, including snow days, a opportunity for learning.
If your school district would like more information on providing safe mobile broadband to students, please contact Kajeet for more information.
January 17, 2014
Join Kajeet at the CoSN (Consortium for School Networking) Annual Conference on March 19-22, 2014, in Washington, DC. While attending this premier professional event for ed tech leaders, take this opportunity to meet with the Kajeet team and learn how to bridge the digital divide in your community.
Get your on-site demonstration of our Kajeet SmartSpot™ at the conference with our solution that keeps all students connected once they leave the classroom.
Meet up with a Kajeet executive one-on-one to discuss the various ways we can bridge your digital divide. Email us for an appointment. We hope to see you there.
The data’s in on what data means for kids and education. Myriad reports from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a research and public policy organization, confirm one of Kajeet’s core tenets: safe mobile broadband access expands and enriches the sphere of education. Below are some of the organization’s most arresting and significant findings. For more information, please visit the Joint Center’s blog here.
- One in four teenagers accesses the Internet primarily via a mobile device.
- A Grunwald Associates report commissioned by AT&T asserts that most parents whose children did not use mobile devices or who were less believing of the benefits of using devices to enhance learning do not have college degrees.
- The Center for Digital Education and National School Boards Association reported a 44% increase in the number of school districts overall that use social networks, with 74% now reporting a social media presence. Thirty-two percent of districts reported a lack of computers as the biggest obstacle to preparing for upcoming Common Core online assessments.
- Education professionals report lack of funding as the main impediment to widespread implementation of educational technology in the classroom.
- A study of fourth graders in Encinitas, CA shows students overwhelmingly maintain tablet apps make math easier to understand.
Learn about Kajeet’s commitment to education and digital access here!
In the wake of technology’s ever-expanding potential, the safe mobile broadband of Kajeet SmartSpot™ is reconciling a digital schism in education and bridging the gap between privileged and low-income students, an issue which this 2013 Pew Research survey of more than 2,400 middle school and high school Advanced Placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers confirms. Here are a few of the survey’s most eye-opening findings:
- More than half (54%) of teachers say all or almost all of their students have sufficient access to digital tools at school, but only a fifth of these teachers (18%) say all or almost all of their students have access to the digital tools they need at home.
- 39% of teachers of low-income students say their school is “behind the curve” when it comes to effectively using digital tools in the learning process; just 15% of teachers of higher income students rate their schools poorly in this area.
- 49% of teachers of students living in low income households say their school’s use of Internet filters has a “major impact” on their teaching.
- 92% of teachers say the Internet has a “major impact” on their ability to access content, resources, and materials for their teaching.
- 73% of teachers say students use their mobile phones in the classroom or to complete assignments, and 45% report they or their students use e-readers and 43% use tablet computers in the classroom or to complete assignments.
- 42% of teachers say their students usually know more than they do when it comes to using new digital technologies. Just 18% feel they know more than their students.
Responses like these affirm that there are three things every 21st century student needs: access, mobility, and filtering — all of which are encompassed by Kajeet SmartSpot™!
In today’s smartphone age, kids who stream, surf, and socialize almost exclusively on their mobile devices are increasingly adding schoolwork to that list!
The TRU organization, which specializes in data on tweens, teens and young adults, conducted a national online poll of 1,000 students and found smartphones are used at home for schoolwork by 39 percent of 11 to 14 year olds! In addition, 31 percent of those surveyed said they do assignments on a tablet. The research also shows that smartphone usage increases with age, rising from 42 percent for sixth graders to 57 percent for eighth graders. And, perhaps most significantly, students questioned in the poll said they are excited about using mobile devices — that they help them learn math and sciences better!
This poll should come as great news — kids are embracing mobile technology at home and in schools. The problem, however, is that many students are on the wrong side of the “digital divide,” lacking access to up-to-date devices and the mobile connections that support them. Kajeet SmartSpot™ helps school districts close the divide by providing safe and affordable off-site internet connection to students in need. Soon, we will enable education even further with our consumer service, helping kids and schools move towards our inevitable destination: advanced technology and mobile broadband as a part of every child’s education.
February 25, 2013
There’s no greater litmus test for our future than the quality of our education, an area defined by its most valuable asset: emerging technology. Schools everywhere are using Internet access to enliven, fast-track and enhance the educational process.
However, the same technology that galvanizes the 21st century classroom also threatens to leave many students behind. Home computers and Internet access are increasingly expected of students and essential tools in many situations. What about the kids who don’t have Internet at home? What can schools do to keep technology involved in the curriculum without inconveniencing and depriving the kids whose families can’t afford access to the Web? Articles like this affirm this disparity is a huge problem.
What can companies like Kajeet do to solve this divide?
Kajeet operates under the belief that the quantum leaps we’ve made in technology must be used to bridge this educational gap. We help all kinds of schools and students use advanced technology to teach and learn.
Kajeet partners with schools to give them top-of-the-line devices and a safe, filtered Internet service— a package that can be scaled to their needs and used to help kids who don’t have a Web connection at home. We provide schools with tablet computers, Mifi Smartspots™ and smartphones, so kids can safely access the Internet from home.
We provide schools a safe and simple solution so they can close the digital divide, make the most of their budget, and step into the 21st century!