Imagining a future with high-speed Internet in every Kansas City classroom

At the Google Fiberspace recently, local educators, students and others discussed the opportunities offered by ultra-high-speed Internet in the Kansas City Public Schools. They imagined a future with Google Fiber in each classroom and brainstormed ways for the district to reach across the digital divide.

One of the largest concerns about Google Fiber’s offer to connect Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas to the fastest  Internet connections is the impact this could have on the “digital divide.” Just as some households in Kansas City have chosen to pre-register for Google’s new offering, others either don’t see the value or can’t afford the service. Because Google will only connect schools in neighborhoods where a certain percentage of residents pre-register for the service, it now appears some schools will not be able to take advantage of Google Fiber’s superfast connection.

Google and Kansas City school board chair Airick West invited educators, students and others to a meeting recently to discuss these issues. After the group heard a presentation from Google, West asked attendees to break into small groups and discuss two questions. Here are the questions and some of the ideas that emerged  from the groups.

What would it look like if all scholars in the Kansas City Missouri School District had access to the technology they need to succeed?

  • Educators can use the Internet for online courses and tutoring
  • Every teacher and every student can put learning video online for all to see
  • Parents and scholars can read textbooks together online
  • Parents can partner with their children on school lessons
  • Parents, teachers and students can all have access to the district website and make it a social community, not just a means of delivering information
  • All class members can be online at the school at the same time doing high bandwidth activities, which would remove the current bottlenecks
  • Kids can play virtual chess
  • Snow days can still be school days
  • Summer reading loss is reduced
  • The district might be able to offer online summer school
  • Teachers can offer arts classes online
  • Parent teacher conferences can be “virtual”
  • Students can go on virtual field trips

 How do we get there?

  • Everyone needs to have access to the district website as a key source
  • Every household should have access to the Internet and every student should have a tablet computer
  • Allow access to courses and instructors using high-speed Internet
  • Students could store portfolios online
  • Every household in the city should have free access to high-speed Internet
  • Have a business class to teach the kids all the things they need to know
  • We have to do more than offer high speeds because many people cannot even afford a computer
  • Create opportunities for those that are more well off to help subsidize access and even devices for the less advantaged
  • Google should be free at home; then every student would be able to do their lessons. This would make it easier for teachers to do lesson plans.
  • Connect the classrooms to nonprofit companies where the CEO could talk to students in a video conference
  • More small group monitoring like what we are doing now
  • We want people to be able to get grants for people who can’t afford Google Fiber
  • Google should talk to parents at the schools
  • Make every fiberhood green
  • Apple will come together with Google Fiber and get affordable equipment
  • Give the students computers

These are the ideas that people shared at the meeting on Saturday. What other ideas do you have for getting technology to students in the Kansas City Public Schools?

Comments are closed.