After reading "momline’s" discussion post titled: How do I afford internet for the online line classes my kids take? I was consumed with thoughts of how we (Americans, educators and companies) can help all American children have access to high-speed Internet so they can keep up with the demands of 21st century learning. It is a reality that students need to have access to the Internet to complete their course work.
My daughter is in 7th grade and I would say about 40% of her homework requires access to the Internet. I know the term “digital divide” has been a hot topic for about a decade now but when I was researching the most recent statistics on access to the Internet for people across income levels, there was a great discrepancy and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
So much of what we discuss here in our Community is all the cool online resources out there for our students. Yet, these resources are only great to those of us who have access to them. I wanted to know how schools, Internet providers, and software/computer companies are addressing these issues. My hope is to brainstorm a list of ways we are helping students have access to the Internet and to inspire others to help close the digital divide.
Please share ways you or your community are assuring all students have regular access to the Internet so they can keep up with their school work.
I wish that the Cleveland Metropolitan School District required a check-in of students during the summer - frankly, I live in a community deemed "deficient" in many ways - but it is a fallacy. Even the most "deprived" households have access to some form of technology - more often mobile - than a fixed computer or home internet.
Also, the push for wi-fi at ALL libraries, and even whole neighborhoods like Old Brooklyn, allows families to purchase a laptop for school use.
The push to CONNECT needs to come from school administrators.
If parents and students were required to "check-in" all summer long or show participation in a reading club to ensure fall enrollment in their school of choice - I am sure that we would see a greater effort to keep kids reading and working on math exercises.
Here is the email I sent out this week:
The Summer Reading Club program goes live this Friday, May 31 st : http://readingclub.cpl.org/
***There are some great social media features this year - for instance, students log-in with their library card, create an avatar, earn badges and are able to share their reviews and lists nation-wide !***
If you have your own Cleveland Public Library account, then you already know some of the great features of the site, including free access to Emedia and downloadable music as well as great READS !
So, please use the site as an incentive to keep kids engaged and to prevent the SUMMER slide .
The program allows students to keep track of their reading progress and Cleveland Public Library will be able to get back to your school with total participation numbers .
Please also know that Brooklyn Branch will be holding regular Maker activities every Wednesday afternoon from June 10 - Aug 2 - and can assist parents and students with their on line participation.
If you would like a demonstration before the end of the school year - please feel free to call me at the branch 216-623-6920. Please forward this information to anyone who might benefit.
All the best,
Message was edited by: Laura McShane
Laura, you are full of useful information and great ideas! It sounds like the community in Cleveland have bound together to make sure people are connected to the Internet. What an inspiring pilot program to get Old Brooklyn in Cleveland connected to Wi-Fi using “a groundbreaking technology infrastructure project that provides free, fast internet service for every home, business, and organization in Ward 13 of the City of Cleveland, Ohio.”. (Oldbrooklyconnected.com). Then you also have your libraries motivating students to read and log their progress online.
For now my school, as most of the rest of our district, has 3 computer labs, one classroom set of laptops, and extended library hours to facilitate internet access to students but an update was long overdue. My school district has struggled with its credibility since 2002, after a mismanagement incident of 13 million dollars. That said, it took years of intense labor from us all to restore our image and to get the support we needed to update technology. Our community has demonstrated their involvement in the education of our students once again and has recently approved a mill levy for this goal. Our district has offered professional development on the 21st Century skills and on Common Core Standards. We had the opportunity to be informed of the current plan to provide teachers and students with ipads within the next few years. This improvement will ensure that all our students have access to internet and that teachers start incorporating digital teaching strategies as well.