The digital divide is a major issue that refers to the gap in information and resources between students. The difference between the students who have access to internet and those who do not. There is another term “homework gap” that refers to a difference between students who don’t have access to reliable high speed internet connectivity at their homes. This lack of resources act as a disadvantage for students with low-income families and rural communities. Due to the pandemic, as more and more teachers and schools are switching to online method of teaching, this lack of resource act as a disadvantage to students.
There are a number of Non-profit organizations that are working around the clock to reduce the homework gap. We have listed programs and organizations that are constantly trying to help students, school or your school district to get the ideal technology for improving your education.
List of Organizations That Helps Schools & School Districts
- Project 10Million
Project 10Million is a 5-year initiative started by T-Mobile, the whole initiative is dedicated in closing the homework gap.
During the 5 years, T-Mobile will provide 10 million eligible households with K-12 students with free internet service and free mobile hotpots, to reduce the “homework gap”. Each household will receive 100 GB of data per year and get to keep the mobile hotpots for 5 years.
To be eligible, your child’s school or school district must be accepted into the initiative. The second requirement is that your child must be enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Teachers and administrators can apply to get their school enrolled in the program, as for the parents/guardians can contact T-Mobile directly or ask the teachers of your child to apply for their kids.
Project 10Million is also offering school districts discounts on data plans for students who need more data and on laptops and tablets for students.
- The 1 Million Project
This public charity initiative is a lot like the Project 10Million. The mission of the project is to help one million high school students who don’t have internet connectivity at home, to get connected.
Through this program, 225,000 students in 181 schools across 33 states that receive mobile device and high-speed internet through this program. Students receive a free smartphone or a hotspot device, 10GB per month high speed LTE data, free hotspot feature and unlimited domestic calls/texts on smartphones for up to 4 years. School administration can set certain restriction on the use of the 1Million Project devices using a content filter.
The 1Million Project has also combines their efforts with the College Board for Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy. This partnership makes sure that the students can earn additional high-speed data every single time a student hits the SAT study goals.
- Computers for Learning
Computers for learning is another initiative that’s aimed towards improving the quality of life for students. Computers for Learning takes unwanted computers from government agencies and private sectors and donates them to non profit educational institutions. K-12 public, private or homeschools or parochial schools may be eligible to receive these free computers. Federal agencies report their excess computers to GSAXcess, educational institutions can then search for these computers and request computers using a shopping cart and e-commerce type checkout process.
- Kajeet SmartSpot
Kajeet SmartSpot provides portable hotspot and it makes it possible for schools to loan them out to students to take home. Every single mobile hotspot device provides filtered internet access from one of the four major internet carriers.
Schools can then customize the data plans, internet access times, and even suspend usage of internet. Kajeet requires a one-time equipment cost and it then offers multiple data options for schools to purchase. Institutions that are eligible may be able to receive discounts and subsidies for their devices.
- Kajeet SmartBus
This project is really similar to SmartSpot, Kajeet can equip your district’s school buses with filtered internet access. Average students tend to spend 40 minutes each day on school bus, students who don’t have internet access at home can use this time to finish up their homework or finish assignments. Many of Kajeet SmartBus students have achieved a lot and have increased productivity on the buses for students.
How Teachers Can Help In Bridging The Homework Gap?
Teachers can also help in close the digital divide and homework gap, by identifying the divide and providing opportunities for students who don’t have access to internet.
The first thing a teacher can do is identify how many students don’t have the required internet access at home. Teachers may find that some students do not have internet access at the beginning of the school year, or if the students are only able to access internet using a mobile data plan.
Teacher can set a specific time for these students to get their work done using the library computers. Teachers can even suggest to parents some of the most common homework related websites and apps that a student should use.
Discounted Internet Connectivity For Households With K-12 Students
Students that participate in national school lunch program can receive a discount on home internet service from top internet service providers. We have compiled a list of internet providers that offer a discount for households.