Online Liberation

By on October 29, 2012

Last week we (LiteracyTA co-founder Jonathan LeMaster and I) were at a school for two days of Elementary Reading First and ERWC (Expository Reading and Writing Course) training.

During the middle of Day One, Jonathan started to experience Internet issues and could no longer connect to, even though he could still connect to Google (my standard for checking if the Internet connection works). After a little research we found out that one of the district vendors was having issues. We had the normal response of running around like crazy people talking to anyone who would listen. We talked to the principal, the IT director, the IT coordinator and a school secretary. Many of the teachers at the training expressed that they had similar challenges connecting to the Internet. I was frustrated that we didn’t have the tools needed to support the teachers and students.

After about an hour of thinking about the problem, it hit me. I had the new iPhone 5. My new data plan allows me to create a hot spot. That means, I could share the Internet connection on my phone with my laptop.

I turned on the hot spot and connected Jonathan’s computer and my laptop to the iPhone. We were in business. It was lightening fast and we could now connect to Amazing.

We were running the training off of my phone.

I thought we were in the clear and then Jonathan came up to me and said he would like to spend the last hour in the computer lab building lessons with our new Common Core Lesson Planner. Since the computers in the lab used the school’s Internet, they could not connect to What were we going to do? Jonathan asked if we could use my phone. I did a little more research and found that we could hook up quite a few computers to my phone. We took a break and went to the lab and connected 5 different computers to my iPhone. Everyone spent about an hour and working with the new Common Core Lesson Planner and we ended the training on a high note. Before we could leave the training everyone was asking to help them with a reliable Internet solution.

The answer was in front of us. Many of us have the power of the Internet in our pocket. Why not use it in your classroom? I checked the usage for the day and was worried that we had used way too much bandwidth that I would be charged for. But after looking at my online usage, it hadn't gone up much. If you don’t stream music or watch videos you will not use much bandwidth. This solution will work for many teachers and help add a stable Internet connection that teachers can rely on in their classroom.

Since all phones and providers are a little different I can’t add specific directions for each one. As for the phone capabilities, they are using the term “hot spot”. Google and type in your phone’s name and “hot spot.” You should see direction to turn on and connect to the hot spot on your phone.

As for providers, make sure you understand what it costs for the Internet. Some plans charge for a hot spot. Some charge by bandwidth (or Gigabytes sometimes written as GB). Some have unlimited bandwidth. Either way, I think this solution will work well for any teacher as well as any of our LiteracyTA trainers.

We are committed to supporting teachers, so if you have any questions or need any assistance send us an email.

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