Inseego helps education nonprofit bridge the homework gap
The Source for Learning (SFL) is a nonprofit organization committed to empowering educators to help students connect, engage, and thrive by learning. As an online service provider, SFL offers a wealth of online and on-demand classroom resources for free, including curated content, professional learning, and broadband support for underserved students and teachers in 19 metropolitan areas across the U.S. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia.
MiFi® 5G mobile hotspots
The challenge – Reliable, high-speed wireless internet
In March 2020, the pandemic caused schools across the U.S. to close their doors, forcing more than 50 million students into a remote learning environment. For millions of students who lacked reliable internet access at home, the “homework gap” became an educational crisis. Unable to participate in online classes or complete assignments at home, many students were likely deprived of achieving their highest educational potential and/or disadvantaged in securing good employment opportunities in the future.
Providing reliable internet access to students and educators in many different communities across the country required a solution that could be deployed and managed easily. SFL needed a product that was truly “plug and play” for children or parents with little or no technology experience or digital literacy skills. And of course, it also needed to deliver secure, reliable internet access almost anywhere — including places where no landline service (cable, DSL, or fiber) was available.
Although many mobile hotspots were commercially available, many of them used less advanced versions of LTE, resulting in poor and unreliable performance, often with data speeds that were too slow to be useful.
At the onset of school-from-home orders, SFL stepped up to the challenge and quickly activated its remaining inventory of Inseego MiFi hotspots. Eighty-five percent of SFL’s deployments supported thousands of under served students and their families.
Schools and districts frequently reported back to SFL that participating students were actively engaged in remote learning sessions, and parents also appeared to be actively involved in the learning process. As they explained:
“I did not have internet at my house. I couldn’t afford it. My income was cut in half since March and my son qualified for free lunch prior to my reduction of work. My son’s need for Wi-Fi [assistance] was out of strict necessity. Thank you for providing us with this service. Lifesaver.”
“Our home Wi-Fi was not able to accommodate three streaming devices at once and often cuts the video when we have three Zoom meetings. The hotspot solved the issue for my daughter.”
“Our internet connection dropped six times during his online sessions. We are at the highest speed that the internet provider offers for the area we live. The hotspot was a great help to stay in class with no interruptions.”
Looking ahead, SFL sees K-12 education evolving in numerous ways because of the changes COVID-19 introduced to remote and hybrid learning environments. This includes uninterrupted learning throughout the year, promoting new skill sets for students as they navigate remote environments, giving educators more professional learning opportunities and more.
Given these increased learning needs, SFL believes that both 4G and 5G mobile broadband access will positively influence the future of education.