Central Iowa Broadband Survey: The Challenges of Learning from Home
For residents looking to learn more about the Central Iowa Broadband Survey, four virtual forums allow participants to hear directly from residents on how broadband has impacted their lives. During the second session, “The Challenges of Learning from Home,” panelists included the following:
The group focused on challenges of learning from home in Greater Des Moines (DSM) and what can be done to improve the broadband experience for students and educators.
Gaps in Connectivity
The Central Iowa Broadband Survey seeks to find out what sort of gaps residents are grappling with in DSM, focusing on availability, affordability, reliability and speed.
Knox spoke about Urban Dreams and building relationships through many facets, including through a full-service food pantry, outpatient substance abuse treatment, in-house and virtual counseling services, telehealth evaluations, workforce development programming, educational programming and cultural competency training. For at-risk youth in an educational setting, disruption is a normal occurrence. Knox said the digital divide and the lack of access to the internet is not isolated to the pandemic, and that while students are resilient, it is a struggle to catch up from these types of incidents. Most of the students had to focus on learning new digital programs, keyboarding and using technology as a tool for learning, which is different from how most students use technology in their day-to-day life, including texting and social media.
Alexander discussed remote learning discrepancies between access for rural and in-town households and adapting during the COVID-19 pandemic. With a 1:1 program for students, her district was able to get all students devices, but had to work on connectivity and dead zones across the district.
At DMACC, Lundstrom said the Perry and Carroll DMACC campuses faced connectivity and poverty issues similar to area high schools. For young adults in college, Lundstrom said they took funds from not having a graduation ceremony to buy iPads for students, as well as laptops, headphones, hotspots and more. Through various grants, this allowed for more students to be connected. Hotspots, or the connection of last resort, have become the best way to get students connected in many cases. The Carroll County district, in particular, went from 54 hotspots to 459 hotspots over the course of the year.
Watch the full webinar below:
Other Central Iowa Broadband Survey events held include "The Rural Broadband Experience," “Telehealth in Central Iowa” and “Remote Work Challenges and Opportunities.” For more information on these broadband forums and to take the residential and/or business survey, visit DSMpartnership.com.
Greater Des Moines (DSM) has one of the best business climates in the country. The region is nationally recognized for having a talented and educated workforce, a cost of doing business 13% below the national average, a low cost of living and an exceptional quality of life.