How education companies are addressing home connectivity challenges

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by Amanda Robb, Senior Supervising Editor, Math

photo of Amanda Robb, Math Sr. Supervising EditorIn the midst of the pandemic, as many schools are offering remote learning or hybrid learning options, some students continue to experience difficulty with at-home internet connectivity. An estimated 10 to 15 million students lack reliable internet access, with a majority of those students also lacking devices at home on which to access posted assignments, conduct online research, and complete homework. Per an article posted by Pew Research Center, internet usage patterns vary by community. Suburban students are most likely to require online access, with 65% of students stating they use the internet almost daily to complete homework. This is followed by 58% of students who attend city schools, 50% of students who attend schools in rural areas, and 44% of students who attend schools in towns. The so-called “homework gap,” which refers to students’ lack of internet connectivity at home, also varies by race and socioeconomic status. Students in lower-income homes are less likely to have reliable internet access, as are African American and Hispanic students.

So, how are students coping with this discrepancy in internet access? Some families are receiving help from local schools, libraries, and businesses that are providing free Wi-Fi. Schools and other entities in some communities are lending laptops, flash drives, and other technological tools to students to aid at-home learning. A recent article from EdWeek Market Brief (may require subscriber login to access) points out that “Ed-tech companies are finding ways to modify their products and rely less on high-bandwidth tools, to cope with students’ poor connectivity away from school”. These companies are developing successful online educational tools that do not require strong internet speeds.

At Westchester Education Services, we are working alongside educational publishers and ed tech companies to provide engaging, high-quality content that supports students who struggle with at-home connectivity. We work diligently to create subject area content in digital platforms that help bridge the “homework gap.” These platforms, such as Learnosity, Content2Classroom, and the Carnegie Learning Homework Chatbot app, do not require students to download content, which can be a struggle for those with lower internet speeds. Additionally, most of our digital platform products do not require students to view video content, which can also prove challenging with lower bandwidths. To learn more about how we can help you create impactful, high-quality content across the content areas, please visit our website or schedule a call.

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