As I was participating in an online discussion during a previous week of graduate school, I got into an interesting conversation with a peer. They thought that in a situation where a district goes 1:1 with technology, the district was under no obligation to make accommodations for students without internet access outside the home. This got me pondering for what solutions might be out there for students without access and whether the district is obligated to help with such a problem.
As far as options for students who do not have access to the internet in their current living situation, I think their options are:
- Show up to school early or stay late to use their internet access
- Go to a business that provides internet access for their patrons
- Go to a friend’s house where they could get their work done
- Ask for a paper copy of assignments to be completed at home
While students who do not have access do have viable options for the use of the internet outside of the school building I would argue that could be difficult for some students.
My thinking is that if a school or district is going to go 1:1 for their instruction it is also incumbent upon them to work with the community around them to help provide solutions to work on their school work outside of class. One way to do this would be to offer extended library/study hall options for students to use the school internet. Another option would be for the school district to collect the information of local businesses that provide internet access to help families find access when needed and work with other local businesses to extend the number of facilities the students could go to if needed. It is great marketing for local businesses and is a way for the community to poor back into the schools
These are just some quick thoughts on how the community could work to help all students have access to the internet to aid in their education, but I’m sure there are plenty of other models that could work. To me it just makes sense that if school districts are going to put requirements on students that could limit their access to education outside of the school they should also be working on providing fair and equal access for all their students to be on equal footing.