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Digital Learning

Equity and Access

Digital Equity

According to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, technology for students and teachers can impact the quality of education as well as students' ability to engage with digital resources outside the classroom. For those districts or schools where access to the internet or to other technology outside of school hours is a necessary or presumed aspect of what is expected from students, it is critical that students have access to necessary technology outside of school and that districts support students who do not have internet access at home, such as through providing wireless access via a Wi-Fi hotspot at school that is available outside of school hours.

Broadband Programs and Services

The links below provide information to the public about companies and organizations that offer low or no cost services in areas such as: residential high-speed internet, Wi-Fi, mobile Wi-Fi plans, portable Wi-Fi hot spots; cellular service; related equipment and devices; and parent education. The Office of Digital Learning obtained this information through an open procurement. Districts can use this information to help parents/guardians obtain affordable access to technology for learning. Districts should contact providers directly for details.

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Lifeline
Lifeline is a federal program that provides a monthly discount on landline or wireless phone service to eligible low-income households. The Lifeline discount can lower or eliminate the cost of monthly phone bills. Eligible families can apply for a discount through a participating phone company in their area. Only one discount is available per household, either landline or wireless, but not both. Visit the Lifeline website to determine your eligibility for the program, apply for the discount, and locate companies in your area.

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EveryoneOn
EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit able to offer free or $9.95 home Internet service, discounted devices (including $150 tablets and $199 laptops) and free computer and Internet courses.

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Kajeet
Kajeet works directly with, and provides schools and districts an affordable, filtered and wireless Education Broadband solution to connect economically disadvantaged students to the resources they need to complete required assignments and projects outside of school. Kajeet leverages industry standard Wi-Fi to connect any student device regardless of ownership, form factor, or operating system. The Kajeet SmartSpot, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot combined with the innovative Sentinel cloud portal, enables administrators and teachers to provide and manage CIPA-compliant, customizable filtered Internet access that keeps students focused on school work and provides off-campus Internet connectivity without worry of data use. Student traffic data is routed through the patented protected Kajeet Sentinel platform to ensure educational use and to provide accountability to the source of funds. Kajeet provides schools with informative dashboards and reports to understand the impact of student access on educational outcomes and to evaluate the use of instructional platforms.

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Comcast
Internet Essentials from Comcast is a program to provide home Internet service for families at a low-cost. Features of Internet Essentials include $9.95 per month + applicable taxes with no term contract or credit checks; no activation or equipment fees; Wi-Fi router included; access to an affordable desktop or laptop computer for just $149.99; and free in-person and online web classes. Visit the Internet Essentials site for more information on these offerings.

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Sprint
Through its ConnectED initiative, Sprint will provide all approved K-12 public, charter and private schools with the following for students without home internet access: 3GB per month of free internet access at home, for 4 years or up to June 30, 2020, whichever is sooner; hotspots that enable students to access the internet at the Sprint for ConnectED discounted price. Visit the Sprint ConnectEd site for further information regarding program requirements.

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T-Mobile
T-Mobile proposes to work closely with schools and families in Massachusetts to provide reduced cost wireless mobile internet service and products, including tablets, hotspots, and smartphones. If billed to the school in combination with voice services, the rate is $9.00 per month for unlimited mobile internet and 1GB high speed data with no charges for overages. T-Mobile also offers more options to families seeking their own T-Mobile service. All services are contract free with no penalties or other obligations. For additional information, contact Donna Monahan, State, Education & Local Government Account Manager, T-Mobile USA - New England Region (508-505-1375, donna.monahan@t-mobile.com).

Resources

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Digital Equity Action Toolkit
Published by the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) to help districts pursue digital equity.

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Open eBooks
This app, which is part of the White House ConnectED Initiative, has thousands of popular and award-winning titles that are free for children from in-need households. These eBooks can be read without checkouts or holds, and children can read as many as they like without incurring any costs. Any adult who works in a Title I (or Title I eligible) school, or a program or library that serves at least 70% of children from in-need families can sign up with First Book. Once signed up, educators can request access codes for Open eBooks.

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Creating Anytime, Anywhere Learning for All Students: Key Elements of a Comprehensive Digital Infrastructure
Published by the Alliance for Excellent Education to help districts adopts a broader definition of digital infrastructure that includes professional learning, changes in pedagogy, parent and community engagement, and assessment and data systems.

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A Parent's Guide to Choosing the Right Online Program
The Clearinghouse is a collaborative effort led by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and the Michigan Virtual Learning Research InstituteTM (MVRLI) to provide a repository of research articles and other publications.

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Innovations in Education: Connecting Student to Advanced Courses Online
This resource provided by the U.S. Department of Education highlights six online course providers. The primary audience is district and school decision-makers who are looking for ways to give their students greater access to advanced course work and see online courses as a viable option.

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Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities
The Center disseminates high-quality reports about engagement, effectiveness, and accessibility of online education for students with disabilities. Partners include the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning, CAST, and the National Association of State Special Education Directors.



Last Updated: August 10, 2016
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