Maybe you watched the weather coverage a couple of weeks ago as our homes and businesses in the Carolinas were pounded with perplexing waves of snow and ice over a 3 day period. Old Man Winter befuddled businesses owners, stymied schedules and caused more canceled classes.
Across the Nation, so many school days have now been lost to winter weather, that many districts are considering cutting short or even eliminating Spring Break altogether - just to make up for the lost time in the classroom.
Not all school districts are waiting for the weather to dictate the timing of a student’s education because technology in the classroom is now advancing to the point where a school district can provide lessons for snowed-in students.
As more classrooms become connected with wired and wireless infrastructure, the ability to apply educational materials at multiple locations in a congruent format will continue to be on the rise.
Some research indicates that nearly a third of public school districts in the United States have “significant one-to-one initiatives” - where there is a laptop, tablet or other electronic school-owned device provided to the student and/or teacher/administrators which will allow them to complete work away from the school campus.
This part is pretty tricky. On campus, the environment for connecting the devices can be better monitored and controlled. At a home, the environment for student or teacher can be more difficult, especially if there is no wireless access. Not all hope is lost when a device leaves that 1:1 environment, and everything can proceed as planned with additional features or management pieces added to the device.
The connectivity of devices at home is what concerns many teachers outside of well-funded districts. Some Pew research of National Writing Project teachers indicates from those surveyed that (54%) 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.
So, classes (or at least the educational material) can be delivered now at a student’s home so being snowed in isn’t such a big issue because they can still complete assignments - at least those students that have good connectivity in their homes. The others? Steps are being taken to even out the statistics.
Though we never dive into political discussions here, it goes without saying that even the President of the United States is making an attempt. President Obama has secured pledges from private companies to provide more than $750 million in wireless service, devices and software to U.S. students.
So, while we may not be able to move technology in the classroom to student and teacher’s homes everywhere today, more light is being cast on the possibilities when we make that first step. You may not want to count on too many more of those missed school days in the future. Mother Nature might have finally met her match with technology in the classroom - and at home.
Like it or not, having mobile devices in schools is the way of the future and even the present in many classrooms. The benefits to using all this great technology in the classroom are endless. If you are interested in bringing new technology to your schools wireless network, contact us here with any questions. We have helped hundreds of schools all across the United States and we are always happy to provide any advice and answer any questions you may have about bringing these invaluable learning tools to your school.