Leading school district partners with community to help solve digital divide, provide equal access
MCLEAN, VA — Forsyth County Schools (FCS), a leader in K-12 public education, and Kajeet, the only wireless service provider dedicated to kids and education, announced a new collaborative joint project. FCS extended its Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) program to offer students without off-campus Internet access the connectivity they need with the Kajeet SmartSpot. The Atlanta-area school district purchased its first round of the portable Wi-Fi hotspots, which enable children to have access to essential academic and education resources on the Internet after they leave campus.
“It’s a necessity for a 21st century student to have Internet both inside and outside of school,” said Jill Hobson, director of instructional technology at Forsyth County Schools. "The Web is a learning tool that extends the classroom. Outside of school our students are collaborating and interacting with their teachers and each other to research information, solve complex problems, create original products, and publish their work. Those students who now have Internet access at home feel they are equal to their classmates in technology.”
“Students’ personal technology can improve educational equity, but if they don’t have access to the Internet, once they leave, education is not equal,” said Michael Flood, vice president of Education Markets at Kajeet. "The Kajeet SmartSpot is an affordable option for school districts, but Forsyth has taken a community approach to raise the money for the devices needed to bring Internet access to those children."
Forsyth County's BYOT program began five years ago with seven schools, and today,100 percent of the district’s schools are participating. However, approximately 7,000 students in the district still do not have off-campus Internet. Earlier this fall, FCS purchased Kajeet SmartSpot devices and through a competitive application process, students in need now receive off-campus access to the Web.
FCS purchased its initial Kajeet SmartSpot devices with revenue earned from its annual BYOT Tours where schools from around the nation examine how technology can benefit in the classroom. After recognizing the need and the solution, leaders in the community held a golf tournament to raise funds to buy additional devices for the students.
Kajeet, the only wireless service provider dedicated solely to providing safe, mobile connectivity for students, is bridging the digital divide in school districts across the country. Kajeet provides a safe, affordable mobile broadband solution that connects economically disadvantaged students to the resources they need to complete required assignments and projects outside of school. The Kajeet SmartSpot®, a portable Mi-Fi hotspot, combined with the innovative Sentinel® cloud portal, enables administrators and teachers to provide CIPA-compliant, customizable filtered Internet access that keeps students focused on school work and without worry of data abuse. Kajeet products and services, which operates on both the Sprint and Verizon network, are protected by the following issued U.S. patents 8,929,857; 8,918,080; 8,774,755; 8,774,754; 8,755,768; 8,731,517; 8,725,109; 8,712,371; 8,706,079; 8,667,559; 8,644,796; 8,639,216; 8,634,803; 8,634,802; 8,634,801; 8,630,612; 8,611,885; 8,600,348; 8,594,619; 8,588,735; 8,285,249; 8,078,140; 7,945,238; 7,899,438; 7,881,697. Other patents are pending.
Forsyth County Schools, located in Cumming, GA, is home to more than 39,000 students in 35 schools. As one of the three fastest growing school systems in the United States, the district is recognized across nation as a leader in public education. Forsyth's technology enterprise is nationally recognized as a leader in educational technology.
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