As any school, district, administrator or teacher knows, integrating technology into the classroom – and the curriculum -- is a challenge. What are the available options? Will this new school technology for school fit within the budget? How can it be implemented effectively without causing an unnecessary disruption to the learning process? There is a wide variety of technology for schools to choose from and making the right selection for today’s students is key to setting them up for future success.

Here are three common ways schools and districts are integrating educational technology into the curriculum:
1-to-1 Programs
A 1-to-1 program is one where students are given a device (whether it is a tablet, laptop or netbook) and access to online resources to support their studies. This type of initiative allows students to work a pace they feel comfortable at, as well as develop a sense of independence and self-direction. In a 1:1 program, the traditional teacher-student dynamic is transformed, giving the student a more personalized learning experience.

In addition to the device, a key element of a 1-to-1 program is broadband connectivity. When a device is used in the classroom, Internet access is a given, as it is more commonly available on school grounds. But for a third of students nationwide, Web access at home isn’t necessarily a reality. For those students, then, using this technology to master their curriculum is more challenging. But with a Kajeet SmartSpot®, a 1-to-1program is easy for a school or district to implement. The SmartSpot is simply loaned out to a student, who can then use it to access school-provided Internet connectivity through any Wi-Fi capable device. The student gets access to the resources needed for the assignments at hand and the school is able to manage what websites can be accessed and for how many hours. The integration is seamless and cost-effective, allowing the technology for school to be available on an anytime anywhere basis.

Learn more about how the SmartSpot can help students leverage 1-to-1 programs when away from school.
Bring Your Own Device programs – more commonly referred to as BYOD or BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology)— are those where a student actually brings his or her own mobile computing device to school. Commonly used devices include tablets, smartphones, laptops or netbooks. These have grown in popularity, as well as availability. Students then use these devices to master the curriculum, researching assigned topics, collaborating with peers online, completing classwork and more.

In recent years, BYOD programs have become one of the more recognizable ways that teachers are able to integrate technology in the classroom. They often encourage more student participation and engagement, as well as lead to increased achievement. But this technology in school also has some disadvantages, one of which is that not all students have readily available Internet access outside of the classroom. This gap -- the digital divide -- has prompted many schools and districts to look for affordable alternatives to even out the playing field for their student population. This is where the Kajeet SmartSpot fits in. By providing students with this Wi-Fi hotspot, a student without Internet connectivity at home will be able to access school-funded mobile broadband.

The Chicago Public School system utilized a BYOD program supported by Kajeet. Students will provided with HTC Evo tablets for use on homework after the school day ended. Through the Kajeet Sentinel® platform, administrators were able to document the websites each student accessed, as well as limit how late in the evening the tablets could be used. Read more about their BYOD initiative here.
Remember the days of going to the school library, borrowing a book to take home and then returning it when you were done? Many schools and districts have adopted this model when it comes to their school technology resources. Instead of checking out a book, students take home a wireless device that provides school-funded mobile broadband connectivity. The library checkout model ensures that disadvantaged students, who may not have Internet connectivity at home, have access to the same educational resources that their peers do. It also reinforces the twenty-first century technology skills students will be expected to have mastered when they graduate.

And it’s easy to implement. The library checkout model is being used by districts like Green Bay Public Schools and Pontiac School District, where students are given Kajeet SmartSpot devices to support their school work and curriculum requirements at home. This case study outlines the challenge DPS, as one of the nation’s largest urban school districts, faced and how Kajeet was able to help enable the use of technology for school outside of the classroom.