October 23, 2015
Today’s Mobile Citizen story features Irvington Community Schools, a K-12 charter school system in Indianapolis. Only 14 days left till the shutdown. Sign our petition today.
While exploring a 1:1 computer program, Irvington Community Schools’ Technology Director Chris Ashmore knew he had to bridge the digital divide amongst the school system’s 900 families. What he didn’t anticipate, however, was the number of teachers who lacked home Internet access.
“They had to stay at school, sometimes late into the night, to prepare lesson plans, create content for curriculum and input grades,” Ashmore said. “Although they were doing what they needed to do to keep up with their work, it was at a significant cost to their personal life.”
In order to keep teachers content and well-rested, the school system coordinated with Mobile Citizen to provide affordable home access to its teachers, with a surprising result.
“Having access at home was one thing — what our teachers realized they could do with the Internet was entirely another,” Ashmore said.
Using unlimited data, Irvington teachers developed an innovate curriculum that included a tool for making video comments on individual student assignments. According to Ashmore, both teachers and students loved it.
“Being able to tell a student via video that he or she did a great job on a project versus putting it in an email or writing it on an assignment has proven to be a powerful teaching method and engagement tool,” he said.
Unfortunately, when Sprint shuts down the CLEAR network on Nov. 6, Irvington teachers and students will lose the ability to use the popular video tool, along with many other opportunities unfettered Internet access has allowed. Ashmore said the school system’s efforts to provide inclusive connectivity hinges on unlimited and reliable broadband access.
“The technology is available and there is not a good reason we should be depriving our students and teachers the access to success.”
If you agree that Irvington Community Schools’ teachers and students deserve Internet access that meets their needs, please sign our petition.