What Schools Can Do For Students Without Internet
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What Schools Can Do For Students Without Internet

Remote learning is the future of education, but what about those students who cannot access the internet. This article will let you know how remote learning is possible for such students. Adapting to a remote learning environment during uncertain times is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Schools should prepare themselves to tackle different challenges such as dealing with data privacy threats in virtual classrooms, following remote working tips [1] to ensure that educators are smart enough to teach in an online environment, and so on.

But before shifting toward online learning, schools need to understand whether teachers and students have the required devices and internet connectivity to successfully use remote learning tools. The Education SuperHighway 2019 report [2] suggests that 99% of schools can support digital learning in the classroom thanks to their scalable and affordable broadband infrastructure. However, 14% of school-age children (approximately 7 million) live in homes where the internet is inaccessible, as per the latest federal data [3].

According to the School Superintendents Association’s survey [4], 81% of respondents indicated that they could not become a part of a fully online learning environment due to the unavailability of the internet. Surprisingly, the stakeholders of education are not coming up with the idea of funding to provide internet facilities to students who cannot access the internet even today. Here are different strategies schools can follow to make remote learning a memorable experience for their students who cannot access to the internet.

Schools Should Encourage Parents To Take Advantage Of Community Resources

Educators should compile a list of places where free WiFi and computers are accessible in their community. Likewise, they should provide the compiled list to parents as they can visit such spots on nights and on the weekends alongside their children to offer them a remote learning environment [5].

Distribute Physical Take-Home Packets, Papers, Worksheets, And Books

Schools can provide all the learning materials to their students in the form of hard-copy. In this situation, the role of teachers becomes quite crucial. Educators should prepare their lectures using notebooks and papers. Once they have developed their lectures, the support staff should deliver those lectures, including all the necessary reading materials such as books, worksheets, and others at students’ homes on a weekly or bi-monthly basis.

Provide Mobile Hotspots And Other Means Of Wireless Internet Communications To Students

When it comes to improving remote learning environments for the less-privileged students, schools should provide them mobile hotspots and wireless internet communications facilities in their communities. However, the said activity is an expensive thing in terms of budget. That said, schools can coordinate with telecommunication companies to make internet access cheaper and accessible for remote students.

For instance, a third-grade teacher, Karen Ruark, and her two daughters have to go to the South Dorchester School to access the WiFi connection. This way, they complete their pending tasks as much as they can. This scenario suggests that the lack of internet access compels students and their parents to work in coffee shops, parking lots, and other public areas where they can connect to the WiFi network and perform their educational and official activities.

Schools should also consider this aspect carefully before rolling out remote learning plans.

Make Remote Learning Accessible Through Offline Features

Students should realize the importance of offline features and add them to their remote learning plans accordingly. According to Google’s blog, students who do not have access to the internet in their homes can still get education remotely. The blog highlights the significance of how students can keep using Chromebooks and G Suite for educational purposes, even if they are not connected to the internet. IT teams can activate offline access features on students’ devices, but they will require online access to complete the setup process.

Similarly, they can turn on offline access for G Suite apps like Calendar, Drive, etc. Interestingly, they can download an impressive Google Docs offline extension on the Chrome web browser that allows students and teachers to access materials on different productivity apps, including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and others without using the internet.

If we talk about students, they can download documents and lectures from Classroom and Drive. As a result, they can have access at home on any device of their choice. Besides, they can perform various activities on their Chromebooks, such as capturing and editing images, making videos for notes with the help of the Google Keep app.

Educators can also use other productivity apps, like Screencastify and Soundtrap for Education, if they do not have online access. These apps offer offline options on the Chromebook App Hub or Chrome Web Store that help them create activities and projects for their students without internet access.

Wrapping Up

Remote learning has become a reality within a few months due to the COVID-19 crisis. Still, millions of students cannot access the internet even in the 21st century. Therefore, schools and other stakeholders should come up with these ideas or suggestions as mentioned above to improve remote learning environments for their students who are deprived of internet connectivity in their homes.

References:

[1] Expert tips on how to effectively work from home during COVID-19 pandemic

[2] 2019 STATE OF THE STATES

[3] Digital Divide Among School-Age Children Narrows, but Millions Still Lack Internet Connections

[4] AASA COVID survey 

[5] Best Cyber Hygiene Practices For Secure Remote Learning

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