Connecting Students To Educational Resources
Bridging the Digital Divide with reliable, secure, easy-to-deploy 4G LTE solutions
Remote learning, as both synchronous instruction and asynchronous study, experienced an unprecedented level of growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that students and educators have returned to physical classrooms, the expectation remains that remote access to educational resources is in place for students. To support that requirement, more than 45% of public school districts have undertaken initiatives to provide internet connectivity solutions to students at home, with responsibility placed on district IT leaders to deploy and manage them.
It is estimated that 3.7 million households lack internet access, resulting in up to 9 million children in the US facing difficulty completing school assignments. This situation, commonly referred to as the Digital Divide, disproportionately affects students in low-income and rural communities. To prevent learning loss in areas where broadband infrastructure is lacking, districts have sought wireless connectivity solutions to provide internet connectivity for their students.
The pandemic era roll-out of wireless solutions, often in the form of mobile hotspots, were relatively quick to deploy, but have been plagued by technical issues including: poor or unreliable network connectivity, difficulty maintaining a connection (often Bluetooth) between the hotspot and students’ devices (laptops/tablets), or configuration challenges for families that are not technically fluent. Additionally, though initial costs of devices are low; loss, damage, and theft often lead to follow-on costs.
Furthermore, hotspots that are issued at a household level suffer from degraded data throughput as multiple users access their connection and they are susceptible to security threats if family members use them to visit unapproved online resources.
District IT leaders require a connectivity solution that provides reliable and consistent connectivity, is easy to deploy, and overcomes the many other challenges cited above to provide equal access to educational opportunities and reduce learning loss when students are remote.
JACS Solutions offers 4G LTE connectivity solutions such as our TD191 series of USB dongles. The dongle is a plug- and-play solution that may be customized at the firmware level to restrict access to unwanted online resources. The physical connection of the dongle to a student’s device ensures a more stable connection than hotspot-based solutions and can be custom-designed, along with the enclosure itself, to prevent removal and loss of the dongle.
This secure and reliable high-speed internet connectivity solution is more cost effective than alternatives at both the time of deployment and over the life of the device to meet the ROI objectives of administrators as well as performance requirements of IT leaders.