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Old 02-05-2013, 02:07 PM
buttitchi buttitchi is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 213
Default Students lack of Fast Internet (feb 2013)

Some school districts have mandated that all assignments are to be done online.
Some schools even got rid of text books and moved to an online version that without some hacking, resulting in a non-cacheable version that did not allow for local saving via some type of PDF or the dread of many many pages of printing a hard copy. Draconian copyright restrictions are total bullshit for open learning.
Some schools have abandoned the online text books due to what can be considered disadvantaged students who are stuck on dialup or having to park their ass's in or near some free WiFi. The school was blinded by what seemed like cost savings but did not do their due diligence on students access abilities.

In the early 2000's you'd have teachers making online assignments and occasionally half the kids had no computers at home and were stuck with trying to mange things via the library computers or wasting free time at school in the computer room.

CITRONELLE, Ala.—Joshua Edwards's eighth-grade paper about the Black Plague came with a McDouble and fries.

Joshua sometimes does his homework at a McDonald's restaurant—not because he is drawn by the burgers, but because the fast-food chain is one of the few places in this southern Alabama city of 4,000 where he can get online access free once the public library closes.

Cheap smartphones and tablets have put Web-ready technology into more hands than ever. But the price of Internet connectivity hasn't come down nearly as quickly. And in many rural areas, high-speed Internet through traditional phone lines simply isn't available at any price. The result is a divide between families that have broadband constantly available on their home computers and phones, and those that have to plan their days around visits to free sources of Internet access.

That divide is becoming a bigger problem now that a fast Internet connection has evolved into an essential tool for completing many assignments at public schools. Federal regulators identified the gap in home Internet access as a key challenge for education in a report in 2010. Access to the Web has expanded since then, but roughly a third of households with income of less than $30,000 a year and teens living at home still don't have broadband access there, according to the Pew Research Center.
In Harrison, Mich., the local library is a lifeline for people without home Internet. But it is usually closed by 6 p.m. Once a week, librarian Mary LaValle meets a friend at the nearby McDonald's after work. She says she often sees the same teenagers sharing laptops at the restaurant that use the computers at her library. Usually, the kids will only buy a drink, and the free refills keep them going all night, she says.

To be sure, much of what students get on the Internet still comes in books available free at school or the public library. But many school administrators are purposely pushing kids on the Web. At Burns Middle School in Mobile, Principal John Adams has his teachers assign at least one digital project that requires Internet use per quarter.

The goal, Mr. Adams says, is to teach students "21st-century skills." Teachers typically allot class time for computer use when they require kids to get online, but Mr. Adams acknowledges that those students who have home Internet have the advantage of "unlimited time to pull in more information and fine-tune their digital projects."
Original WSJ article link:

Needless to say, this is not ideal and it’s putting these children at a real disadvantage academically. How many children are really affected? Well, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that in 2009 about 42 million households had an annual income of $35,000 or less and roughly half of U.S. household have kids under 18. Take a third of those and you get, say, 6-7 million households with kids in the U.S. that don’t have high speed access.
What disadvantage does the lack of broadband access mean to those kids? A 2008 study by the U.S. Federal Reserve found that teenagers with computers at home were 6 to 8 percent more likely to graduate from high school. While the Federal Reserve study was based on just having computers at home, it seems safe to assume that having computers with high speed Internet access has an even stronger effect on educational outcomes.

If you live in one of those districts that give/rent you a laptop, check it for bugs.
If it is your own laptop, never allow the school to force you to install 'their software' that is excused as being needed to connect to their network. They will scream about security protocols, but if its spyware, its illegal no matter what. Make sure you have a software firewall always on with no exceptions to invasive probes into it by the school network.
Spyware that allows the teacher to keylog you.
GPS type tracking bugs that reside in the OS or in the BIOS.
I'd say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with reflashing the BIOS to kill the bug or hacking in(get admin permissions) to run a anti-spyware scan, but the school may complain about 'their property' no longer invading your privacy.
Another thing when using your own laptop on the school WiFi, be aware of their ability to monitor the sites you visit and to scrape the data that you are doing as you are not encrypted from your laptop to the website.

If the school really bitches? A nice little bit of media attention and maybe a lawsuit for their ignoring your Rights to privacy which exist everywhere, even in the confines of the school system.

Caps on your Internet really destroys student productivity. Did the teacher assign an online video? Some schools have put their class lessons on Youtube and class time is almost not needed anymore as everything is online and take your test twice a month for grades.
Whats really funny is in some colleges or universities is you don't even need to show up for class lessons depending on the subject but take your in-class finals for your grades. So you end up with someone with a diploma but can't do shit in regards to the skill.

Another major issue with expansion of high speed Internet is the rightwings bullshit 'free market' bullshit. Some rightwing commenter's enjoy their government welfare(republican defined: any government money or programs or infrastructure), while bitching that they already have theirs so fuck everyone else.
They scream that the ISPs should not be forced by the government to expand highspeed Internet, but still want the government to give free cash to the ISP without any strings on how it is to be used.

Regulation is good.
Free market crashes the economy and wipes out smaller companies in the corporations greed for higher quarterly profits.

The only way to expand highspeed Internet is via planning and fully worded contracts that denote penalties and major punishments(jail time anyone?) for refusing to spend the taxpayers money as per the contracts exacting specifications.

Telus used the governments unlawful landline tax to expand DSL to 3 dozen Native reserves(a few years ago, an unlawful Cable Internet VOIP expansion tax on landlines that created a billion dollar fund). Bell decided to partially subsidize their Cellular network, which was violation of the contract stipulations(landline DSL). I bet some politicians got some nice all-inclusive vacations. Giving cash is considered a bribe, but giving a free vacation is not a bribe in their little minds.
Then you have Rogers who will exclusively wire/fiber a new subdivision while banning any other provider from running their wires/fiber as well. Resulting in shitty service when issues arise(can't go to another provider since its exclusive to Rogers).
Hi Diddly Ho, Good Neighborino

Last edited by buttitchi : 02-05-2013 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:13 AM
Brad R Brad R is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Ontario
Posts: 607

Since about 2006 our Linux Users Group has partnered with the local United Way to refurbish older computers and give them to underprivileged students. These days a computer is required for schoolwork, and other than making some shared computers available in the school, and a few in the local library, the schools don't seem to be doing much to improve access.

But these are mostly desktop computers, and can't be carried to the local McDonalds for wifi. In the early years of the project the local ISP donated free dial-up service to these students, but dial-up doesn't cut it anymore, and we no longer receive donated computers with modems anyway. So the students can use OpenOffice to work on their assignments, and can read PDF books, but making Internet access a requirement still leaves them at a huge disadvantage.
4G Fixed Wireless Formerly Echostar 17 "Jupiter"; Rogers Rocket Hub; Everus 3.5 GHz Wireless; Telesat Kazam plan; HughesNet Ku.
A computer without Windows is like a chocolate cake without mustard. http://www.goodbyemicrosoft.net
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