NetRef Provides Critical Data about Internet Bandwidth to School Districts as They Work to Address Learning Recovery
Even with schools preparing for a return to full time in-person instruction in the fall, educators know that students’ access to devices and the internet at home are essential to addressing unfinished teaching and learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-21 school year. In response, NetRef has developed a new Internet Bandwidth Report that provides school districts with data about each students’ at-home bandwidth. Starting July 1, the report will be available to all schools and school districts at no cost for a limited time. Teachers can ensure they are not assigning homework that requires access to websites and apps some students can’t access, and Administrators and IT staff can use the comprehensive data to provide supports such as hotspots or information about broadband subsidies.
Dr. Margareth Legaspi, NetRef’s Chief Education Strategy Officer and former state education leader in the District of Columbia, guided the development of the new Internet Bandwidth Report. According to Dr. Legaspi, “The internet is used for instruction in increasingly diverse ways. As educators utilize technology for daily instruction, inadequate connectivity/bandwidth can significantly disrupt teaching and learning. Robust broadband is essential for equitable access in schools for all students, as bandwidth capacity determines which digital instructional materials and educational applications students and educators can leverage at home and in the classroom. With the data this report provides, educators can use alternative learning opportunities supported by the level of connectivity each student has. It will also aid school districts in connecting families to programs like the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program that can help pay for internet access.”
“We believe it’s our responsibility as an EdTech company to help educators close the digital equity gap,” says Harrison Parker, NetRef’s Vice President of Operations. Data about who has access and who doesn’t is the first step in improving connectivity for students so that regardless of their ZIP code, they have the bandwidth to access the wealth of learning resources and tools that are available.”
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To generate the data that powers the Internet Bandwidth Report, school districts must add the NetRef app to students’ school-owned devices. Bandwidth for each student is calculated multiple times to provide an accurate measurement of their average available bandwidth over a chosen date range. Interested schools and school districts can reach out to email@example.com to learn more.
As districts across the country look ahead to the next school year and beyond, NetRef is committed to helping ensure digital equity with their innovative EdTech solutions and tools like the Internet Bandwidth Report. Alongside educators and families, NetRef continues to work toward more equitable learning environments for all students — inside and outside the classroom.