The New Albany Middle School (NAMS) Library has a new resource in circulation. Students are now able to check out hotspots to help them complete assignments that are technology based.
A hotspot allows people to obtain Internet access using Wi-Fi technology via a wireless local area network using a router connected to an Internet service provider. Students using these hotspots do not incur any cost from the school nor an Internet service provider when they utilize this resource.
NAMS Principal Paul Henry said he realized the need for this type of assistance when a student and her parents approached him and asked him for help, explaining that she was unable to complete many of her homework assignments due to not having access to the Internet. He realized he had to find a solution to this problem that other students might be facing.
Henry contacted Robert Garrett who serves at the Director of Technology & Innovation for New Albany School District (NASD). Garrett was able to provide NAMS with ten hotspots to issue to students who are in need of Internet access at home.
These hotspots were made available to NASD by Mississippi Public Broadcasting through the EdNet program.
NAMS Librarian Carrie Blakemore has coordinated this effort on a daily basis for more than two weeks and says that the students are very excited to have this resource. Each day all ten of the hotspots are checked out within fifteen minutes of them being made available.
Blakemore is quick to point out that this is not an economic issue. Many of the students who check out this technology simply live in areas where high-speed Internet is not yet available.
A sixth-grade student who does not have Internet access in the area where she lives has checked out the hotspot two times. “When I have the hotspot I am able to complete assignments on Mastery Connect and view educational videos that have been recommended by my science teacher,” she explained. When she does not have a hotspot she has to stay in town to complete her assignments or figure ways to get the assignment submitted in alternate ways.
Henry hopes he can find funds to purchase even more hotspots so that more students can benefit from this library service.