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Google Donates $344K in Free Wi-fi for Seattle Students

In an attempt to level the playing field even more when it comes to getting students connected outside of the classroom, Google has issued a $344,000 grant in Seattle that is to be used for free WiFi in community centers and low-income housing developments.

“With the grant, Seattle Housing Authority will provide Internet to 800 K-12 students and their families living in low-income households which the city found as ‘the most technology disadvantaged and disconnected,’” according to GeekWire.

“The money will go toward five neighborhoods: Yesler Terrace, Rainier Vista, NewHolly, High Point and Lake City Court.”

Being connected in the classroom oftentimes means nothing if a student doesn’t have the same capabilities at home. Learning management systems can’t operate without Internet connection, and students wouldn’t be able to log in to those systems if they don’t have don’t have Internet access, rendering the LMS useless.

With the grant providing these students ways to access the Internet at home, it puts them in a much better place for research purposes, LMS use, and overall gives them access to resources that may be taken for granted in other communities.

“Too many Seattle residents have no regular access to the Internet, and find themselves disconnected from the wealth of educational and community resources the Internet offers,” Darcy Nothnagle, Google’s head of external affairs for the Northwest, said in a statement, according to the report.

“These grants aim to help bring access to those who need it most.”

It’s not the first time Google stepped up in this respect. According to the report, the company has given more than $14.4 million to non-profits and schools across the state since 2011.

“The company provided $225,000 to fund a Seattle Public Library hotspot program last year and donated $200,000 for a public WiFi network near the company’s Kirkland engineering office, which recently expanded,” according to GeekWire.

It will be interesting to see if any other companies decide to donate grants in order to help students benefit from the ability to access the Internet.

Read the full story here.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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