Page 24 - THE Journal, October 2017
P. 24

the cafeteria together, but it was evident that they were trying to find ways to connect and collaborate, but we also don’t live in a community. We have a large geographic area. It’s 103 square miles with pockets of housing,” Mannix said. “For the most part, you get your homework and you were on your own or you had a couple friends you might have called on the phone or whatever.”
In preparation for a 1-to-1 rollout, Mannix said, his district surveyed students and found that most had internet access at home.
“70 percent of our kids had it,” Mannix, whose district has the highest poverty rate in the county, said, “which was a good num- ber. We were surprised at the number, but, still, 30 percent didn’t” have home access.
First, the district partnered with
Kajeet to offer hotspots that students could check out through the library. But students in the district also often spend as much as 45 minutes on the bus each way so, at the urging of Gary Lambert, the district’s director of 2st century learning, Mannix decided to add WiFi to the buses
serving the longest routes, with plans
to eventually install Kajeet devices on all the buses.
So far, Mannix said the programs are going as well as could be expected.
“Our achievement’s been up; our disci- pline’s been down; our attendance has been up; our graduation rate’s up,” he said.
CITY 0.6%
| OCTOBER 2017
In neighborhoods with lower median income levels, subscription levels to broadband services are far lower than in neighborhoods with higher incomes.
Broadband Adoptions (Subscriptions)
Source: Brookings Institute, “Signs of digital distress: Mapping broadband availability and subscription in American neighborhoods,” September 2017,
“I can’t attribute it
just to this journey,
but it’s certainly baked in for sure.”
solve the problem. You could spend a lot of time connecting schools, connecting homes, but [if] what you’re doing with the technology isn’t actually improving learn- ing, you haven’t made much of an impact.”
If schools in affluent districts are using technology to connect their students to peers around the world and to design
and create and problem solve while
less affluent students are merely being taught to passively watch a video or click through a presentation, the digital divide only gives way to what Culatta called the “digital use divide.”
“There is a really important role that technology can play in addressing equity issues in education, but it’s broader than connectivity,” Culatta said. “Connectivity is essential. It’s incredibly important.
It’s a prerequisite in a lot of ways, but it
is important to recognize that getting people connected is not the end goal. The end goal is to create learners who are able to thrive in a globally connected, very complex world. We can’t call it mission accomplished when we plug in a school or plug in a home. If we haven’t also provided them with the next generation learning skills to accompany the internet connection.”
Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at
Addressing Long-Standing Equity Issues
“But I actually think there’s a bigger is- sue beyond home connectivity,” Culatta said. “I think we need to be asking about whether we are using technology in ways that are helping to address long-standing equity issues. Just providing access doesn’t
RURAL 27.4%
No Access to 25 Mbps Internet by Community Type
Source: Brookings Institute, “Signs of digital distress: Mapping broadband availability and subscription in American neighborhoods,” September 2017, loads/2017/09/broadbandreport_september2017.pdf
Income Gap in Broadband Adoption
Neighborhood Income Level
Low Adoptions
Medium Adoptions
High Adoptions
Low Income
Medium Income
High Income

   22   23   24   25   26