There are millions of students being asked to complete homework online. These same millions of students lack the ability to do so because they don’t have access to the internet at home. This is known as “the homework gap.”
There are many companies working on innovations in next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) applications that may help successfully close this gap by increasing home internet access for students. Here are some of the companies and the innovations working to close the gap:
Imcon International and Cradlepoint created a line of self-contained, WiFi-enabled backpacks. These backpacks are powered by solar chargers and redundant batteries, which provide portable internet access. With these backpacks, students can connect to wireless, 3G, 4G, LTE and other networks.
Kajeet’s ConnectEdNow campaign is aiming to make broadband more accessible and affordable. The campaign provides students with portable WiFi hotspot devices, a $200 mobile device subsidy and discounted data plans from partners like Verizon, T-Mobile and other LTE providers.
EveryoneOn is a nonprofit organization that is sponsoring a program called Connect2Compete. They work with cable and wireless ISPs. This program offers affordable internet services that are priced between $10-$20 a month.
Sprint’s 1Million Project Foundation is providing both internet access and devices to eligible students. Students that qualify can get free smartphones, tablets, hotspots and 3GB of high-speed LTE data per month.
Closing the gap isn’t only on these companies’ shoulders. Schools are trying to address the wide gap, too. But, schools across the nation see the benefits of moving schoolwork and homework online. To combat the widening gap, school districts are offering access during school hours.
It’s easy for schools to address the issue during school hours and within their walls, but once students are outside of the schools’ walls, it gets problematic. School districts have also been partnering with communities to bring internet access to those in need outside of the school. Not only that, but companies have explored offering WiFi during students’ commutes.
One innovation is the smart school bus with WiFi onboard. Kajeet piloted smart school buses for six months in a Missouri school district and as a result there was 45% less bus-related referrals distributed.
Beyond the bus, utilizing IoT innovations like high-tech backpacks, subsidized devices and affordable internet connection options should also help narrow the gap.