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Senators ask FCC to add $4B in eRate Funding
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 06:30:59 PM Thu 09/17/2020

September 17, 2020

The Honorable Ajit Pai Chairman

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street, SW Washington, DC 20054

Dear Chairman Pai:

As a new school year begins, students across the country are increasingly returning to virtual classrooms due to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, studies indicate that as many as 16 million children in the United States lack internet access at home and are unable to participate in online learning. 1 These students are disproportionally from communities of color, low-income households, and rural areas. 2 Without urgent action by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), we are deeply concerned that they will fall further behind in their studies. The current emergency demands that you take immediate action to help our nation’s most vulnerable children. We specifically call on you to utilize the E-Rate program to close this “homework gap” without further delay....

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 52
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Digital Wish Becomes Newest Member of Connect Americans Now Coalition
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 03:59:44 PM Thu 09/17/2020

Connect Americans Now (CAN) Coalition, Committed to Eliminating the Digital Divide, Continues to Grow
Six Leading Companies and National Organizations Join Coalition Which Now Includes 275 Members Supporting Solutions to Close the Broadband Gap

Press Release
August 24, 2020
Contact: Jon Conradi
[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – Connect Americans Now (CAN) executive director Richard T. Cullen released a statement Monday on the exciting continued growth of the coalition. In the last eight weeks, six leading companies and national organizations joined CAN, bringing the coalition’s total number of members committed to eliminating the digital divide to 275.

“We’re incredibly excited by the continued growth of our coalition dedicated to completely eliminating the digital divide in America,” Cullen said. “Each new member adds a critical perspective and voice to our broad-based coalition committed to expanding broadband access at a time when it is more critical than ever before.”

CAN’s newest coalition members include BASF, Corteva, Digital Wish, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council and the National Cotton Council.

The new members raise CAN’s total number of coalition members to 275, joining existing CAN members including Microsoft, the National Rural Education Association, the American Telemedicine Association, the National PTA, the Schools, Hospitals, Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB), Connected Nation, BroadbandNow, Next Century Cities, Student Veterans of America and many others.

CAN is a coalition of organizations and companies representing voices for agriculture, health care, education, small business, technology, veterans, rural advocacy and more — committed to completely and swiftly eliminating the digital divide in America by supporting a mixed-technology approach that leverages the full potential of every tool in the nation’s toolkit.

See the full list of CAN coalition members HERE.

Read more about CAN’s mission and solutions to bridge the digital divide HERE.

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 52
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Digital Wish survey of frontline educators reveals double digit gaps in at-home connectivity and computing device access for K-12 students
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 08:08:13 PM Thu 05/07/2020

Nonprofit Digital Wish Supports Educators in Solving Education Technology Shortfalls

May 7, 2020, MILTON, Delaware – According to a new survey conducted by Digital Wish, 19% of students nationwide do not have internet connectivity at home and 21% do not own a computing device, impacting their ability to adequately participate in remote learning while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing the dramatic educational equity gap between the “haves” and “have nots,” and a mosaic of stories have emerged from the front lines. Since COVID-19 struck, nearly all schools have closed down nationwide. Based on the survey results, an estimated 10.6 million students lack Internet access and close to 12 million students lack a computing device, leaving them isolated and left behind from any effective distance learning. 

The survey data reveals a large disparity in the needs of school districts based on wealth and geography.  Rural and Urban schools are showing higher rates of disconnected students than suburban. Districts with higher participation in free or reduced lunch programs who often have higher minority representation, are more frequently fighting for devices and connectivity. One school administrator lamented “We have received an overwhelming number of phone calls and emails from parents asking for devices. Ninety percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch. We cannot continue education at home if we don't have devices and Internet for our lowest-income families.”

 

Digital Wish has experienced dramatic increases in demand for its hotspot donations and subsidized internet programs for schools. According to Executive Director Heather Chirtea, “We’ve seen more demand from educators for internet hotspots in the last 30 days than we’ve seen in the entire previous year”

The CARES Act included $13.5 billion for K-12 education, with distance learning one of many eligible uses. Heather Chirtea said: “Digital Wish believes that the CARES Act will probably not be enough to fully address the gaps in connectivity and computers identified by our survey. This nation needs dedicated educational technology funding that will equip those millions of displaced students with hotspots, connectivity, and computing devices so that they can continue their education.”  


 ###

Full survey results are available at: http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/covid_stimulus 

Please contact Digital Wish if you need interviews or quotes with attribution.  Members of the press are invited to circulate the findings and we have educators who are willing to be interviewed. 

Contact: Heather Chirtea, Executive Director, Digital Wish, 802-379-3000, [email protected] 

About Digital Wish

Digital Wish is a 501c-3 nonprofit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in education. Every child deserves a technology-rich education to provide them with the skills necessary to thrive in the global economy. Digital Wish partners with technology providers to distribute free or reduced-cost educational technology such as refurbished laptops, tablets and internet “hotspots” to schools and teachers. Digital Wish manages a community of 64k educators in the US, assisting them with their technology needs through lesson plans, fundraiser campaigns for their “technology wishes” and access to affordable educational technology used in the classroom. Since its inception in 2006, Digital Wish has granted over 31,000 technology wishes to educators worth over $17 Million, and administered grants together with Verizon, Dell, Motorola, Henderson Foundation, and Microsoft. For more information, please visit www.digitalwish.org.


Methodology

Digital Wish conducted an online survey from April 1 to 19, 2020 asking U.S. school administrators and technology educators on the front lines to report their data on student connectivity and to share their stories. All data is voluntarily self-reported by educational leaders who are contending with disruptive COVID-19 changes. In partnership with the analyst team at EducationSuperHighway.org we confirmed the validity of the data as follows: We confirmed the sample is representative. We cleaned the sample dataset. We confirmed the reasonableness for metrics collected.

For more information, see the “Survey Methodology” section on the survey results page here: http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/covid_stimulus

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 52
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Digital Wish survey of frontline educators reveals double digit gaps in at-home connectivity and computing device access for K-12 students
Posted by Heather Chirtea at 03:45:02 PM Tue 04/28/2020

Nonprofit Digital Wish Supports Educators in Solving Education Technology Shortfalls

April 28, 2020, MILTON, Delaware – According to a new survey conducted by Digital Wish, 19% of students nationwide do not have internet connectivity at home and 21% do not own a computing device, impacting their ability to adequately participate in remote learning while schools are closed due to COVID-19. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing the dramatic educational equity gap between the “haves” and “have nots,” and a mosaic of stories have emerged from the front lines. Since COVID-19 struck, nearly all schools have closed down nationwide. Based on the survey results, an estimated 10.6 million students lack Internet access and close to 12 million students lack a computing device, leaving them isolated and left behind from any effective distance learning. 

The survey data reveals a large disparity in the needs of school districts based on wealth and geography.  Rural and Urban schools are showing higher rates of disconnected students than suburban. Districts with higher participation in free or reduced lunch programs who often have higher minority representation, are more frequently fighting for devices and connectivity. One school administrator lamented “We have received an overwhelming number of phone calls and emails from parents asking for devices. Ninety percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch. We cannot continue education at home if we don't have devices and Internet for our lowest-income families.” 

Digital Wish has experienced dramatic increases in demand for both computing devices and hotspot donation with subsidized internet for schools. According to Executive Director Heather Chirtea, “We’ve seen more demand from educators for internet hotspots in the last 30 days than we’ve seen in the entire previous year”

In tandem, the majority of educators are facing the challenge of adapting to unfamiliar teaching paradigms. One survey respondent explained “Going completely digital is difficult with trying to train teachers on the various pieces of technology and web applications that can be used. Students are having a tough time trying to interact with PDF's that we are providing them with for work.”

The CARES Act included $13.5 billion for K-12 education, with distance learning one of many eligible uses. Heather Chirtea said: “Digital Wish believes that the CARES Act will not be enough to fully address the gaps in connectivity and computers identified by our survey. This nation needs dedicated educational technology funding that will equip those millions of displaced students with hotspots, connectivity, and computing devices so that they can continue their education.”  

 ###

Full survey results are available at: http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/covid_stimulus

Please contact Digital Wish if you need interviews or quotes with attribution.  We have educators who are willing to be interviewed. 

Contact: Heather Chirtea, Executive Director, Digital Wish, 802-379-3000, [email protected]

About Digital Wish

Digital Wish is a 501c-3 nonprofit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in education. Every child deserves a technology-rich education to provide them with the skills necessary to thrive in the global economy. Digital Wish partners with technology providers to distribute free or reduced-cost educational technology such as refurbished laptops, tablets and internet “hotspots” to schools and teachers. Digital Wish manages a community of 64k educators in the US, assisting them with their technology needs through lesson plans, fundraiser campaigns for their “technology wishes” and access to affordable educational technology used in the classroom. Since its inception in 2006, Digital Wish has granted over 31,000 technology wishes to educators worth over $17 Million, and administered grants together with Verizon, Dell, Motorola, Henderson Foundation, and Microsoft. For more information, please visit www.digitalwish.org.

Methodology

Digital Wish conducted an online survey from April 1 to 24, 2020 asking U.S. school administrators and technology educators on the front lines to report their data on student connectivity and to share their stories. All data is voluntarily self-reported by educational leaders who are contending with disruptive COVID-19 changes. In partnership with the analyst team at EducationSuperHighway.org we confirmed the validity of the data as follows:

 

- We confirmed the sample is representative.

- We cleaned the sample dataset.

- We confirmed the reasonableness for metrics collected.

For more information, see the “Survey Methodology” section here: http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/covid_stimulus

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 52
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

New Grant! - Mobile Beacon's Connect for Success Student Access Donation Program
Posted by Krysta Piccoli at 04:49:50 PM Wed 03/01/2017




Mobile Beacon Grant Opportunity Available for Schools



Mobile Beacon is now accepting applications for its Connect for Success grant. Mobile Beacon wants to provide a path for educators to help close the homework gap, so every student has equal access to educational resources and learning opportunities. Our Connect for Success grant will give education organizations the tools needed to harness the power of the internet and get it into the hands of those students who need it the most. Our Connect for Success grant provides schools with up to 25 laptops and 4G LTE hotspots with free 4G LTE high-speed Internet service for 12 months.


Grant applicants must be from a school, college, or university in an eligible city and fall within Sprint's 4G LTE service area. Because there are a limited number of grants available, Mobile Beacon wants to ensure the broadband service and associated equipment will be used by schools to fulfill an immediate need. Therefore, your school must use this service for 20 or more hours per week while school is in session. The deadline to apply is March 27, 2017.


Learn more and apply today! http://www.mobilebeacon.org/connect-for-success

 



 



magikarp jump


Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 52
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Mobile Internet Hotspot Lending Pools for Students
Posted by Krysta Piccoli at 04:26:19 PM Wed 03/01/2017


We're hearing great news from educators on how our donated wireless hotspots and Mobile Beacon’s discount $10/month unlimited 4G internet service help students get on the internet at home to do their schoolwork.  Like checking out a book in the library, students in need can borrow the devices for a day or two from their school.  Learn how you can start your own Pool and read comments from teachers at our Support page here:



www.digitalwishes.wordpress.com/donations




Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 52
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

Hillsboro School District Uses Mobile Beacon Hotspot Donations for Students in Need
Posted by Gordon Woodrow at 04:16:37 PM Tue 02/28/2017

The Hillsboro Independent School District serves a diverse student population in the heart of rural Texas. After instituting a one-to-one technology program at the local high school for all freshmen through junior students, teachers began to realize that not everyone had internet access at home. To prevent any student from falling behind, Hillsboro High School developed a solution. A hotspot lending library was created for students to bring the internet home by checking out mobile hotspots. To help implement they turned to Mobile Beacon’s donation program with Digital Wish.

Hillsboro Hotspot Lending Program

Hillsboro Hotspot Lending Program

Each day students without home internet access are able to check out a hotspot to complete their homework, access their Google classroom, browse the web and communicate with friends. The high school currently has 20 devices available for checkout with usually between 16 and 18 devices loaned daily. The school requires that students complete a digital citizenship course to learn about how to use the internet appropriately before they check out a device, and only students without home internet access are eligible.

“Our kids love having the devices,” said Jo Hayes, a Hillsboro High School administrator. “The feedback [from the students] is that they are just very grateful they have the internet at home. The hotspots help students do their work and they can be a normal teenager.”

A few departments at the high school have hotspots that they use for afterschool activities. The athletic department, for example, takes the hotspots on the bus when they have to travel for games for students to complete their homework. Up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices can connect to one hotspot so a few hotspots can handle a bus load of students.

The Hillsboro Independent School District also provides Mobile Beacon hotspots for their teachers at the elementary school. The rural district struggles with reliable access to the internet, and many teachers experience unreliable internet at home. They are able to bring the hotspots home to review homework assignments and complete lesson plans.

Mobile Beacon hotspot

Mobile Beacon hotspot

Providing and utilizing hotspots is not a new concept to the Hillsboro Independent School District. Prior to discovering the Mobile Beacon donation program with Digital Wish, the school was paying $566 a month for only 14 devices, which was grant funded. As the grant period was coming to an end the district realized they could not afford to keep the hotspots, but also couldn’t afford to not offer the popular program. They discovered the Digital Wish donation program and Mobile Beacon’s unlimited 4G LTE service for $10/month. The district is now saving over 75% with Mobile Beacon’s service and the Digital Wish hotspot program. “If it weren’t for Digital Wish and Mobile Beacon we could not have continued the program because those kinds of funds just aren’t available,” said Sheila Bowman, Executive Director of Innovative Learning, “You have allowed us to continue our program.”

Looking to start a hotspot lending program at your school? The partnership between Mobile Beacon and Digital Wish provides affordable solutions. Please visit Mobile Beacon’s Digital Wish donation program to learn more.

 

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 52
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

New Digital Wish Grants Available
Posted by Gordon Woodrow at 04:30:59 PM Mon 02/27/2017

We have several new active Digital Wish GRANTS available for Digital Wish members. To apply, just submit an original lesson plan to our free shared Lesson Plan Library and you could be awarded one of the grants. Awards include document camera, modular robotics, digital citizenship turnkey curriculum packages and wi-fi mobile hotspots with a one year internet subscription to Mobile Beacon's unlimited 4G service plan. See the grants here:http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/dw_grant_calendar

Digital Wish Media Contact:
Jon Gallup, [email protected]
Digital Wish
PO Box 52
Milton, DE 19968
(802) 375-6721 X-222

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