Nov 14, 2018

Students Can Borrow District Hotspot Devices

Hotspot device

Starting in November, students with limited or no internet access in their homes can gain access to WiFi for their homework and other school projects thanks to a new Pickerington Schools program.

Through the Every-1-Connected program, the district will offer a limited number of free wireless hotspot devices to students who have limited or no internet access at home. Students can borrow the devices from their building media center.

This program is open to Pickerington School students who are fully enrolled in one of the 15 district buildings. Priority will be given to students on the free/reduced lunch list and who have little to no household internet access.

“Every-1-Connected gives students with the greatest need the opportunity to borrow a free hotspot device for two-week periods during the school year,” said Brian Seymour, Director of Instructional Technology. “These devices hook up to district iPads and Chromebooks and allow free access to the internet.”

Seymour said the devices will help students who need internet access complete homework or other major projects. Because multiple students can sign on to a single hotspot, the devices also can be used to facilitate group projects.

There is no cost to students to borrow the hotspots, which were funded by the district and through a grant from T-Mobile.

“The reality is that not every household can afford internet connectivity in the home,” Seymour said. “With our emphasis on one-to-one technology, we knew we needed to find ways to bridge the digital divide and ensure educational equity for all our students. These hotspots are a step in that direction.”

The devices use internet content filtering, and student browsing history is recorded, Seymour said. While only one device may be borrowed per household, the hotspots can be signed out repeatedly throughout the year, based on availability.

For students to participate in the program, parents must complete a form (available from the school and on the district website). The form indicates that parents will assume financial responsibility for the equipment if it is damaged due to intentional reckless, willful, wanton or malicious conduct. The devices are covered under the district’s existing Technology Protection Plan, which is already available to families to cover district-provided Chromebooks and tablets.

Complete information about the program, including instructions for requesting a hotspot, are available online under “Every-1-Connected Program.”