Inseego helps education nonprofit bridge the homework gap

Company details

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.

The challenge - Reliable, high-speed wireless internet

In March 2020, the pandemic caused schools across the U.S. to close their doors, forcingmorethan50millionstudentsintoaremotelearningenvironment.Formillionsofstudents who lacked reliable internet access at home, the “homework gap” became aneducationalcrisis.Unabletoparticipateinonlineclassesorcompleteassignmentsathome, many students were likely deprived of achieving their highest educational potentialand/or disadvantaged in securing good employment opportunities in the future.

Providingreliableinternetaccesstostudentsandeducatorsinmanydifferentcommunitiesacrossthecountryrequireda solution that could be deployed and managed easily. SFLneededaproductthatwastruly “plugandplay” forchildrenor parents with little or no technology experience or digitalliteracy skills. And of course, it also needed to deliver secure,reliableinternetaccessalmostanywhere—includingplaceswherenolandlineservice(cable,DSL,orfiber)wasavailable.

Although many mobile hotspots were commercially available,many of them used less advanced versions of LTE, resulting inpoor and unreliable performance, often with data speeds thatwere too slow to be useful.

Results

Attheonsetofschool-from-homeorders,SFLsteppeduptothe challenge and quickly activated its remaining inventory ofInseego MiFi hotspots. Eighty-five percent of SFL’s deployments supportedthousands of underserved students and their families.

Schools and districts frequently reported back to SFL thatparticipating students were actively engaged in remotelearning sessions, and parents also appeared to be activelyinvolved in the learning process. As they explained:

“I did not have internet at my house. I couldn’t afford it. Myincome was cut in half since March and my son qualified forfree lunch prior to my reduction of work. My son’s need forWi-Fi [assistance] was out of strict necessity. Thank you forproviding us with this service. Lifesaver.”

“OurhomeWi-Fiwasnotabletoaccommodatethreestreaming devices at once and often cuts the video when wehave three Zoom meetings. The hotspot solved the issue for mydaughter.”

“Our internet connection dropped six times during his onlinesessions. We are at the highest speed that the internet provideroffersfortheareawelive.Thehotspotwasagreathelptostayin class with no interruptions.”

Looking ahead, SFL sees K-12 education evolving in numerousways because of the changes COVID-19 introduced to remoteand hybrid learning environments. This includes uninterruptedlearning throughout the year, promoting new skillsets forstudents as they navigate remote environments, givingeducators more professional learning opportunities and more.

Given these increased learning needs, SFL believes that both4G and 5G mobile broadband access will positively influencethe future of education.

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