Mason City Schools providing mobile hotspots for students

To make sure no one is at a disadvantage to being connected to the internet, the district is giving mobile wi-fi hotspots to give an extra boost of signal

Posted: Sep 18, 2020 3:05 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Mason City Community Schools is making sure students have the necessary bandwith, and connection, to study at home.

The district recently purchased about 300 'MiFi' mobile hotspots from US Cellular, ahead of the start of the school year, for those who need a stronger connection to the internet using a cell signal.

District IT Director Ryan Fiser says any student can use them, whether they live in town or out in the country.

"There's times where the internet can be unreliable or go down in town. That's something everybody deals with, but these hotspots help with that. We've also used a few of them for teachers to connect with students, so they can use these as a backup."

With the transition of most lessons to online, Fiser said this type of technology is important to have on hand to prevent anyone from falling behind.

"The way education is done now, technology is a huge part of the educational environment. Without these devices to hand out to students, it would be extremely difficult to keep educating them the way we've grown into."

So far, there have been relatively few problems with the hotspots, primarily related to questions on how to use them or sign in for the first time. Fiser says there is a portal being developed for him to check how often the devices are used. In addition, the district is considering the purchase of additional MiFi's if they are needed. 

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