Education Technology Nonprofit Readworks Launches Offline Mode to Grant Access to Students Without WiFi at Home
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages into 2021, students across our nation continue to face interrupted learning. Though the education community has been hard at work in tackling the issue, the digital divide persists. Students in low-income and rural communities, and in Black and Hispanic households in particular, are still left behind as many districts continue to rely on online learning—either full or part-time.1
In response to the ongoing crisis, the education technology nonprofit ReadWorks announces the release of offline mode. This new feature enables students to use public WiFi to load ReadWorks materials to then use at home. Research shows that students who do not have broadband access at home often have access in public spaces, such as libraries. Also, students in a hybrid model of schooling can download ReadWorks material at school and then use it at home.
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Edtech nonprofit ReadWorks launches offline mode to support students without access to WiFi at home during COVID-19.
ReadWorks provides 1.2 million K-12 teachers and 17 million students with content, curricular supports, and digital tools designed to improve teacher instruction and student achievement in reading comprehension—all completely free of charge. ReadWorks has a commitment to equity in access for all students, and offline mode marks a critical step for ensuring that more students will benefit from the free, research-based reading materials and learning supports that ReadWorks offers. The benefits of the new offline mode will last far longer than the pandemic, as remote learning will remain a part of some districts’ full set of educational options and disparities in access to completing at-home work existed long before the pandemic.
“As an education technology nonprofit that has always provided its resources for free, ReadWorks is uniquely positioned to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Terry Bowman, Executive Director of ReadWorks. “Offline mode is our most meaningful step since schools closed last March in helping to close the digital divide. Providing access to high-quality materials to students without WiFi at home is so important because they are some of the most at risk for learning loss this year.”
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While ReadWorks provides both printed and digital material to teachers and students, over 5.4 million students across the country have used ReadWorks digital tools already this school year. And ReadWorks reaches the children most in need—92% of the highest poverty K-8 schools in the U.S. have ReadWorks teachers—so the potential for immediate and meaningful impact of offline mode is significant.
This effort was partially funded by donations from ReadWorks users, including teachers and parents, who have relied on ReadWorks to keep students reading and learning throughout the pandemic. In addition to individual donors, numerous foundations and corporations also generously supported ReadWorks’ ability to meet the surge in demand during the pandemic and to improve its offerings, including offline mode. These include the Carson Family Charitable Trust, the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation, the Robert and Ardis James Foundation, Robin Hood, Tracelink, Travelers, and the Tsunami Foundation.
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