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From the Editor: The new divide

Kathleen Vail

I recently traveled to Wyoming on a business trip. My hosts warned me that my GPS probably wouldn’t work in some of the more remote areas. In fact, most of the time when I was not hooked up to a Wi-Fi network, I couldn’t use my cellphone.

While my disconnection was short-lived, I thought about how students in remote and rural areas faced this situation every day. Access to devices in the form of one-to-one programs can do little without home high-speed internet access. Clearly, many students are missing out on the digital revolution going on in our schools.

In our cover story this issue, Senior Editor Del Stover looks at high-speed internet connection inequities in our schools. One rural district, California’s Coachella Valley, found a simple solution to a complex problem: It outfits school buses with Wi-Fi hotspots. Students can use the Wi-Fi on their rides to and from school. The district also parks some Wi-Fi equipped buses in the community so students can do their homework.

“A major problem for us was that about 30 percent of our kids were not connected to the internet,” says Coachella Superintendent Darryl Adams. “That’s when we came up with the idea of letting kids connect through our buses. It’s a smart way to get our students connected.”

Coachella’s program won a 2106 Magna Award honorable mention. You can read about that program and others at www.nsba.org/magna.

In this issue, we also are featuring technology articles on digital citizenship, online learning, and an argument for the return of the computer lab.

Until our next issue …
Kathleen Vail
Editor-in-Chief
kvail@nsba.org

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