In this blog post I am to describe my results of researching my level of access to digital resources. This post will also discuss ways to combat two major barriers in this digital world: Lack of device at home and lack of internet connection – specifically WIFI.
I began this lesson at my home, which the ISP is Comcast. I tried REPEATEDLY to access broadbandmap.gov with no success. The webpage would time out error.
I came to school this morning, and I tried it. The website came up immediately. Now I am suspicious of Comcast, considering they have consistently broken Net Neutrality Laws I am interested to see if there was just an issue last night with the website, a problem with WIFI (which I doubt as I was able to access all other sites) or if Comcast is purposefully blocking this cite. – I am having my students go onto the website to compare access to the website. I will update this blog as soon as I get more information
According to broadbandmap.gov both my company and my county have great Digital access. My county is at 100% and at the top of the list as are the surrounding cities/towns in the metro area. The majority of my state is at 100% access and the lowest is 87%.
Currently, barriers that I have seen to impeded on student learning are:
- Not having a Digital device at home (although in my school district we are moving to 1-1 devices, where students can take them home (unless opted out by parents)
- Not having good or any access to WIFI – at this point some devices that students have – like phones – do not operate on Ethernet cords and not having good access or any access to WIFI is an issue.
These two barriers can be eliminated or reduced in certain ways.
For lack of device at home
- This barrier can be eliminated or reduced through school district intervention – Counties are beginning to create 1-1 device schools. This is an expensive endeavor, lost, broken and even stolen devices, cords etc, can be an issue. The positives, however, outweigh the negatives.
- Teacher can apply for class grants – there are many tech companies which give out grants to classrooms. Teachers can have a class set and can sign out devices at discretion.
- If more than a 1/3 of your students do not have a device at home, do not assign anything that requires the use of the internet or a digital device.
For lack of internet access at home:
- If the child is in free/ reduced lunch, companies such as Comcast are known to offer internet for as low as 9.99 a month.
- Provide time in the morning, afternoon or in class to complete work that requires internet access.
- For younger children, let parents know where there are areas that provide free WIFI. For older children, let parents AND students know where there are areas of free WIFI.
- If more than 1/3 of your class does not have good access to the internet, do not assign homework that requires it.