Broadband For Students!
What's so important about broadband for students? Think about
the vast amount of information and knowledge that can be found on the
Internet. Sure, the world wide web is full of useless, and
even inaccurate information, questionable social media, and even
inappropriate and destructive content. HOWEVER, once you
filter through all of that crap, the knowledge of virtually the entire
planet can be found with the click of a mouse or the touch
screen in a fraction of second.
Previous generations would spend hours and even days or weeks
researching a given topic. Now we can learn about anything
imaginable at will. The required skill has shifted from
to use legacy search tools (and often finding a lack of available
information), to learning how to decipher the real, true, and valuable
information that can feed our knowledge and shape our intelligence.
The Digital Divide!
The critical challenge, however, is providing access to broadband for
students who are in the prime of their learning. The number
of students nationwide who don't have
Internet access at home is said to be over 10 million! These
are obviously people who are struggling financially, and can't afford
what is considered an elective benefit such as the Internet.
Lack of access, however, has
been shown to affect student's grades, and graduation rates.
This is referred to as the "Digital Divide", and is truly much more
than an optional nice-to-have technology. It is critical to
shaping the minds of young students!
It seems inevitable that in the future broadband access both at home
and school will be built into city infrastructure, and available to
everyone regardless of socioeconomic status. Until then,
however, there are dedicated volunteers and PTAs who work hard to raise
money to help provide access to devices and broadband for students.
Education Broadband for Students!
want to highlight here is that there are also wireless companies
dedicating resources to address this growing digital divide.
In fact, there's one specific prepaid wireless provider, Kajeet, that
has an entire initiative around Education Broadband. They
provide hotspot broadband modems (Kajeet SmartSpot and SmartBus), and
a cloud based management portal tool to provide disadvantaged students
access to the Internet outside of school. The cloud portal
allows school districts to provide CIPA-compliant, education-only,
filtered Internet access. This ensures that students are
appropriately focused on homework, rather than distracted by social
media, and the darker parts of the Internet.
Furthermore, these tools provide parents with the peace of mind that
being intelligently filtered so they are not distracted from
non-educational content. It also provides time parameters
within which students can get access. The tool also has
reports with learning and usage analytics. Kajeet also
supports Google SafeSearch and YouTube Restricted Mode (to block adult
content). Given that two-thirds of all data traffic comes
from Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Instagram, and Snapchat, Kajeet's
tools help school districts keep data costs down by avoiding these
that also tend to distract students from their work. Of
tools have merits in their own right, however, to meet the objectives
of Kajeet's Education Broadband, these sites are blocked.
The Wheels On The Bus...!
Interestingly, providing WiFi on school buses has been shown to
decrease bus related student behavior incidents. Districts
purchase bulk broadband data, which doesn't expire, and includes
monthly rollover. They can choose
either the Verizon or Sprint nationwide networks. While
districts can design their own program to meet their specific needs,
they offer three baseline plans:
- Kajeet Choice - District manages the
entire program through
the cloud-based tool.
- Kajeet Managed - Kajeet assigns an
Manager to manage the entire program.
- Kajeet SmartBus - Broadband on the bus!
Please note that
this website is not affiliated with Kajeet. i.e. I don't
any payment or sponsorship for describing their service. I've
been following Kajeet's cell
phones for kids
for years, and when I
discovered their broadband for students initiative, I was very
impressed, and simply want to share this fantastic opportunity with
others! Check out more details at Kajeet