Two government agencies are working to lower the cost of wi-fi so that lower income schools can have internet access for their students. While this sounds noble, they are missing out on some key features and misplacing investment $$.
For one thing, there is absolutely no reason that any public school should have to pay for wi-fi if they have more than a 75% free and reduced lunch situation. Title I money needs to be allotted for that. Simply put, there are enough billionaires in this country who made their billions off of telecommunication and pay no taxes to warrant that form of investment. Furthermore, while Michelle Obama and her husband are focused on costing school districts far more than ever before in food service in order to curb fat, sodium and sugar, they are overlooking the sad reality that far too many of our children, especially our free and reduced children go without any 21st century skill training once they leave school. Cell phones does not warrant 21st century skill development!
Secondly, as we increase up blended learning, (for those who do not know what that is, it is combining online education with traditional teacher to student instruction) we are leaving more and more children behind as they do not have internet at home. They do not have access to a Chromebook or a PC. Every home that has a school-aged child should have at their disposal a PC or at the very least a Chromebook. Smart phones does not constitute a true 21st skill development modem. You would be amazed at the limitations educators have in assigning skill development exercises, report writing, in short homework that involves the digital age. Why? Because far too many children do not have internet at their disposal. Far too many children do not have working computers at their disposal. While we can provide after school access to computers that merely imposes more financial impact on the school district as well as limits a healthy home/school link.
I believe it is necessary to prioritize our investment dollars. Wi-Fi, should be available for all public schools free of charge, or at least free of charge for our Free and Reduced population. There is absolutely no economic reason that it is not. Then, the money that is being put out for wi-fi, needs to be placed into the homes of our children who need to have extended learning time. Textbooks which are quickly becoming antiquated need to be replaced with digital formats and the billions of dollars spent every year on traditional textbooks need to go to the cupboard once and for all! The textbook rental money should go into purchasing affordable Chromebooks. At an approximate cost of $250 each, it is a long term investment that cannot be overlooked.
I call upon President Obama to do with "Learning Devices" ie, PC's, Chromebooks, what he did with "Obama" phones. Does anyone realize the 21st century skills that can be taught with providing Chromebooks for example? Does anyone realize that with wi-fi and a Chromebook a person does not need a phone as they are able to call from their Chromebooks? Or what a person can do with Skype and a PC? Now that is teaching real 21st skills to our students.
Sadly, I continue to see more and more students falling behind in skills that the adult workforce assumes they have because they are so "tech" savy with Facebook, social networking, all because of smart phones. The truth is, smart phones have dummified our kids. Far too many do not know how to properly utilize email, they cannot attach documents. They have succumb to saving passwords on desk tops or googling rather than typing in url's. They do not understand code, or how computers work. The list goes on and on regarding the necessary skills to go on to post-secondary education. Our kids need access to in-home technology in order to further development true 21st century skills and to do today's homework.Read the article here.