By Brandi Makuski
The Stevens Point Area Public School District has taken steps to eliminate the “digital divide” between home and school.
The district has purchased 200 mobile broadband units for student use, utilizing funding from the Sentry Technology Initiative. The devices, Kajeet Smartspot, provide 500 MB of filtered Internet access per day.
The hotspots are the latest product of the district’s 1:1 laptop and technologies partnership with the Sentry Insurance Foundation, which provides laptops to students in grades 9 – 12.
Surveys conducted by the foundation indicate about 10 percent of students in those grades don’t have access to Internet outside of school. According to a news release from the district, the lack of access could force some students to get left behind their peers who do have access to Internet.
Students interested in receiving a Kajeet Smartspot device for home during the 2015-2016 school year will need to apply by picking up a form at their school office. Eligibility for this program will be determined based upon the following criteria:
- Financial need (free and reduced lunch status)
- Lack of internet access at home
- Participation in extracurricular activities which would limit their ability to use wireless Internet at school
- Number of siblings in the student’s family enrolled in the district
- No history of computer violations, technology abuse or disciplinary actions involving computer use.
Applications will be available for families at all secondary schools and the Bliss Educational Services Building, 1900 Polk Street.