AMENIA – Webutuck Central School District students will now have access to reliable and consistent WiFi at home, on the bus, or at their babysitter’s house, according to a news release from the Webutuck Teachers’ Association.
The district has been awarded one of five grants nationwide provided by wireless company Kajeet.
ESL teacher and Webutuck Teachers’ Association member Monica Baker and Director of Technology Bill Brown applied for the grant to help close the digital divide.
“A large percentage of students in our district do not have wireless access outside of school,” Baker states. “This access is increasingly necessary in order to be academically successful in a digital world.”
This becomes even more imperative as Webutuck prepares to launch its 1:1 initiative in September 2018.
All students will be given Ipads to use at school and at home.
If students do not have high speed wireless capability outside of school they will potentially be at a disadvantage, said members the teachers’ association.
“In our rural district, not many students are walking distance to a library or other WiFi hotspot. Many families only have cell phone data plans, but no wireless capability. And a student applying for college on a cellphone is clearly at a disadvantage!”
The Kajeet Homework Gap Grant is providing Webutuck with 10 SmartSpot WiFi devices for the 2017-2018 school year. Students will be able to check out the WiFi units from the school library in the same way they would borrow a book. Students will use the WiFi units to complete homework assignments, do research projects, collaborate with peers, communicate with teachers or access educational apps.
They will then return or renew the WiFi devices the next day. If the units are not returned, they will automatically shut down and rendered useless to encourage responsible borrowing. The WiFi units are filtered to ensure safe, educational usage.
They also will provide Webutuck with data to see who is borrowing them, how they are being utilized, and how often they are borrowed.