The pandemic has shone a light on the good, the bad, and the ugly of schools’ edtech adoption, as they continue to strive to further personalized and individualized learning. When schools turned to remote learning in 2020, the disparities along income, race, and location lines were stark and depressing. Those most at risk were most impacted when it came to furthering the achievement gap, most recently blamed on “learning loss.” Back in January 2021, UNESCO estimated that due to ongoing disruptions, >1/12 of the world’s student population (800 million students) in 79 countries had lost out on ⅔ of the academic year. Yet McKinsey & Company drilled down more, and released several reports over the past couple years that highlight how Black, Hispanic, and Native American students as well as students in low-income schools suffered the most unfinished learning; a chasm hard to bridge and “make up.” They caution that these losses could last a lifetime.
Even though schools have made a valiant effort to return to more of a traditional school day, they still face the inequities that come with edtech adoption: Who has which devices? Who has the proper training? Who has reliable access to the internet? With many valuable lessons learned about leveraging technology to make teaching and learning more effective and engaging, schools still need to shore up their infrastructure to make sure that all students have equal opportunities to learn. Worldwide, UNICEF reports that ⅔ of children don't have access to the internet at home. In the U.S. alone, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimated that 14% of students, ages 3-18, did not have access to the internet at home in 2020, meaning more than 9 million students’ learning journeys were impacted.
In response, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) allocated $7.17 billion to assist communities in supporting their schools and libraries with tools and services for remote learning (support also can be applied to lessening the “homework gap”). The ECF is part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021; to date, total commitments have funded >10 million connected devices and 5 million broadband connections. And in short, schools can apply for ECF support to fund eligible equipment and broadband connections..
MAPLE, a hotspot provider since 2017, recently re-architected their technology and services to meet the unique needs of schools. In many cases, major networks provide the carrier service while the partnering hardware provider supplies the device. Yet there is a dearth of customer service when schools begin to roll out their hotspot services due to the diverse needs of the multiple stakeholders. Educators are plagued with the “what ifs …”
WHAT IF …
MAPLE helps districts and schools be proactive, not reactive, by providing an all-in-one solution in an age-old industry. MAPLE begins by providing white-gloved service throughout the engagement. From submitting an ECF application, to setting up devices, to deployment of the hotspots, to managing students’ online usage, MAPLE provides a transparent process that saves time and money for all parties. The specialized features of MAPLE’s devices and service secures the probability of schools receiving fully-approved rounds of annual ECF support by minimizing loss overall:
What do schools need to do first? Follow these three simple steps:
Take advantage of the cost savings through this third round of support from ECF. MAPLE’s pricing is competitive at $250/device and $25/month/device for network connectivity and customer service. However, 100% of these costs are eligible to be coveredby ECF support for the coming year. Remember, nowadays a device can only do so much without reliable, high-speed access to the internet. Equip your students and educators with a school-based solution for hotspots through MAPLE, your trusted ally for school community internet access.