I am seeing some great ideas to maintain instruction while students are out. Some of these are technical and some paper-based. I will focus on what we are seeing from a connectivity perspective, i.e., getting kids connected at home.
First we are advising to move into this slowly as the technical and logistical challenges are huge. Do a test run with a small group such as graduating seniors or other priority. Most of our clients already have online resources and simply need to increase licensing. Many instructional companies are offering free content during this crisis and some, such as Khan Academy have always been free. I am recommending an application that logs time spent on learning to provide insight for teachers and leadership--or in case you need documentation.
Many of our clients have set up a Learning Management System (LMS) long ago and can simply point their students to that content. I'll do another post on LMS soon.
Our focus is getting students access from remote. Question vary from which laptop or tablet to use to how to get these mobile devices on the web. The legitimate online learning companies offer content that can be accessed through any Internet connected device, whether it be a laptop, tablet, or iPad. Some have APPs that can be downloaded, some recommend specific Internet browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari or other --so it is best to test which works best.
I am actually surprised how many students -- from all income levels and locations--have Internet at home. For those who don't, we are supplying cellular hotspots that communicate to the Internet through the cellular grid and allow users to connect to these hotspots using the Wi-Fi capabilities of the mobile device. Before you buy a bunch of hotspots, be sure that the cellular carrier works in the areas you are trying to serve. Most will provide coverage maps.
You also want to make sure that these hotspots provide filtered Internet service to comply with federal (CIPA) regulations and in general protect the students from harmful content.
Be sure to check on the data caps for the hotspots. Some limit the amount of data a student can use and charge penalties if they go over. Our clients are finding hotspots with unlimited data for anywhere from $10-$20 per month per hotspots. Most are wanting a one year contract. We are seeing offers for free hotspots, but be sure to read the fine print.
As we mentioned with remote staff working, remote students require technical support with connectivity, passwords, content questions, and other instructional questions. You will need to add instructional expertise to your helpdesk.
Please share what you're doing.