What is a Smarter HotSpot™
The Smarter HotSpot™ is a purpose driven device, designed to engage even the youngest learners for long periods of time. It provides CIPA filtered internet access in an easy to use form factor. It enables a student to easily access their specific classroom learning apps, access the internet for research or join a classroom video session all without the need to connect a secondary device such as a Chromebook. At the same time, if a student needs to use their Chromebook to type a paper and submit it online, they can easily turn on the hotspot feature and connect their Chromebook (or another device) to it. Best of all, if they’re not sure how to connect it, they can watch the “How To Video” that is included with every device!
Smart HotSpot™ and Smarter HotSpot™
The Smarter HotSpot™ is our 2nd generation Smart HotSpot™. The key difference between the two, is simple. The Smart HotSpot™ provides a student with access to the internet via the Chrome browser as well as the ability to connect a Chromebook or other device via its wi-fi hotspot, it does not include any additional apps. The Smarter HotSpot™ provides access to the internet via both the browser and the hotspot functionality, plus it includes additional apps on the home screen.
One-minute video tour
Smarter HotSpot™—Pre-loaded with your apps
We pre-load the specific applications that your school uses on your Smarter HotSpots™. Each device will be activated and tested prior to shipping, to ensure that all of your apps, such as Google Classroom, Clever, Blackboard, Zoom or IStation, have been tested and are working properly, ensuring an easy deployment for you and your team and ease of use for your students.
Easy to manage, easy to update
The Smarter HotSpot™ can be easily customized to meet the needs of your students by grade or learning level. It’s easy to load a different set of applications for each group through our web portal, as well as update, add new or delete apps along the way.
When is a Smarter HotSpot™ better than a traditional hotspot and a Chromebook?™
The Smarter HotSpot™ is a purpose driven device built on a form factor that today’s students, young and old prefer – a smartphone or a tablet. It enables students to become empowered, learners. This device does everything a traditional hotspot does, plus more. Chromebooks and hotspots work well for a lot of students, but not all students and that’s the problem. Students that are often being left behind due to remote learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic are:
- Pre-k through 2nd grade: Need parent assistance to connect to a Chromebook
- Special education students: Need device modification and content personalization
- Homeless youth: A burden to carry – a theft risk and bodily harm as a result
- Students from homes that are the least tech savvy, where parents and students aren’t comfortable or familiar with Chromebooks and traditional hotspots
Pre-K enrollment and lifetime earnings
According to KPRC Channel 2 in Houston, enrollment for Pre-K for the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year is down as much as 44% in some school districts compared to last year. As a nation, it’s imperative that we reverse this trend quickly to ensure these children have access to a quality education and they reach their lifetime earning potential. The Smarter HotSpot™ can play a role in providing a quality education because the Smarter HotSpot™ enables self-sufficiency and secure internet access. It’s easy to turn on and off and due to its form factor, almost every child knows how to operate it without additional instruction. The apps are on the home screen and make it easy for the child to navigate and participate in engaging and interactive lessons.
Special education students
According to the National Educators Association (NEA), roughly 7 million or 14 percent of public school children receive special education services. Further, NEA’s states that educators agree there will be a “COVID slide” that will be particularly steep for special education students and low-income students. The Smarter HotSpot™ is one way to provide more personalized content to these students in a manner that is easy for them to engage with. The vast majority of this student group is comfortable playing with a smartphone or a tablet already, making the transition to the Smart HotSpot™ or Smart HotSpot™ XL an easy one. From an educator’s standpoint, it is easy to create a personalized device with the right content and applications for a student.
According to The New York Times the number of homeless children has risen to 1.5 million in 2018. Education administrators expect this number to climb with the increase in unemployment and nearly 30 million people out of work. The question then is how do educators reach these students and provide them with the resources they need to continue their education? Chromebooks are bulky, they’re not always easy to carry. The Smart HotSpot™ is a smart alternative. Its small form factor enables a homeless student to carry it in their pocket easily, whereas carrying a Chromebook is often complicated. Additionally, there are times when it puts a student’s life at risk from someone trying to steal the Chromebook from the student. The ability to have Zoom (or other similar app) on the device enables the student to connect with their teachers and their classmates, helping to keep these at-risk students from falling through the cracks. Class assignments can be completed easily on the screen and via the apps themselves.
Increase engagement for all students with a Smarter HotSpot™
Schools across America closed in March due to COVID-19 with dismal distance learning results. The hope was that most schools would be able to re-open in the fall of 2020 like normal and history wouldn’t repeat itself. Unfortunately, most schools won’t open “like normal” and while school administrators and technology directors have worked tirelessly through the summer, trying to prepare, trying to close the homework gap, trying to ensure 100% student participation, just in case schools didn’t re-open, the gap still isn’t closed. There are students that will still be left behind, unless we find a better way.
The Smart HotSpots™ use either a tablet or a smartphone as its form factor because cell phones are the most preferred technology device in America today and the vast majority of people know how to use them. Today’s students are comfortable with this technology and they already embrace it in their everyday lives. Statistics show:
- The average person taps, swipes and clicks their cell phone over 2500 times per day (King Online University)
- The average person uses a gadget more than 10 hours per day (Penn State)
Based upon the thousands of Smart HotSpots™ that have been deployed, there is a significant increase in usage with Smart HotSpots™ versus traditional hotspots and Chromebooks. Students that have a choice between a laptop, Chromebook or iPad will overwhelmingly choose to use the Smart HotSpot™ over any other device, simply because its form factor is familiar, comfortable and one they use regularly.
Features & benefits
4G LTE-enabled Smart HotSpot™
Both the Smart HotSpot™ and the Smarter HotSpot™ leverage today’s 4G LTE cellular technology, to provide internet access for your students. Each device has the ability to allow up to 12 additional devices to connect to it, even while one (1) person is connected on-screen to another app.
The built-in web browser is Chrome, which can either open directly to a Google search page or to any other landing page that you prefer. The ease and simplicity of the browser on the screen helps students that prefer to work on a smartphone or tablet or who do not have access to a secondary device like a Chromebook, laptop or other web enabled device.
Custom home screen
The original Smart HotSpot™ has a single app on the front screen along with your school or library’s logo. This personalization helps keep students feeling connected to school with a sense of pride. This is so critical during COVID-19 with our stay-at-home orders and mandatory social distancing.
Safe and secure
All Smart HotSpots™ are securely locked into kiosk mode with our Mobile Device Management (MDM) software, enabling only the device features that you want your students to access. Select features, such as the camera feature can be enabled to work only with specific applications. For example, use of the device’s camera can be restricted except for use within an approved app such as Zoom, otherwise, a student will not have any access to the camera.
CIPA compliant content filtering has been enabled on all K-12 Smart HotSpots™ (unless requested otherwise). This ensures total compliance by blocking or filtering Internet access to pictures that are: (a) obscene; (b) child pornography; or (c) harmful to minors (for Smart HotSpots™ that are accessed by minors)
The Smart and Smarter HotSpots™ are locked down with our mobile device management software and each device will have your school or library’s logo on the front of it. In the event that an individual tries to root or jailbreak the device, the device once restarted, will revert back to the initial Smart HotSpot™ screen.
Libraries are critical to closing the Digital Divide
COVID-19 didn’t create the digital divide, but it has clearly exposed the need for us to find innovative and creative ways to close the homework gap and provide internet connectivity to our nation’s most vulnerable in an effort to close the digital divide. The Smart HotSpot™ is one of the best devices for a library to lend out to its patrons. Its availability in either a 5.5” screen or an 8” screen makes it the right screen size for most applications. The included hotspot creates a wi-fi hotspot for those times a secondary device is needed or desired. Often times, socio economically challenged individuals and those without reliable internet access, don’t have the skills to navigate the complexity of turning on a traditional hotspot and then figuring out how to connect the secondary device. The Smart HotSpot™ “How To Video,” simplifies this process. The user of the Smart HotSpot™ can watch the video and easily learn how to connect a secondary device such as a laptop or a Chromebook to the Smart HotSpot™.
Rural America and internet access
According the to The EPOCH Times, children and their families in rural America have are more than 10 times more likely to not have high speed access to the internet versus their urban counterparts. Studies show only 3% of individuals in urban areas lack high speed internet, compared to nearly 35% for people in rural areas. Overall, nearly 21% of Americans across the country lack connectivity. The ability for these individuals to be able to go to their local libraries and check out a hotspot for connectivity is critical to their long-term economic success. According to Fast Company, 92% of hiring managers leverage the internet to find new recruits and therefore it’s imperative that schools ensure digital literacy to secure the jobs in the future.
Digital literacy and earning potential
In 2020, internet access is no longer a luxury or even a nice to have, it’s a must have. In fact, 82 percent of middle-skill jobs require digital skills, according to a Burning Glass Technologies report. That same report finds that digitally intensive middle-skill jobs pay more than non-digital middle-skill jobs: Baseline digital skills alone pay a 17% premium over non-digital roles. At the same time, the Houston Public Media reported that 25% of households in Texas lack internet and nearly 8 million homes don’t have a computer. Based upon these statistics alone, it is imperative that we find ways to provide internet access in a manner that the individuals can understand and use to improve their digital skills for the jobs of the future.
Hotspot, Smart HotSpot™ & Smarter HotSpot™ Comparison Chart
|Traditional Hotspot||Smart HotSpot™||Smarter HotSpot™||Smart HotSpot™ XL||Smarter HotSpot™ XL|
|Workable area—screen size||N/A||5.5"*||5.5"*||8.4"*||8.4"*|
|CIPA-compliant content filtering||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Wi-Fi Internet access||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Connects to any Wi-Fi enabled device||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|# devices to connect||12||8||8||8||8|
|Built-in Chrome browser||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|No additional hardware required||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Custom logo on home screen||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Ability to customize with apps||✓||✓|
Get started today.
To learn more about our Smart HotSpot™ or our other ConnectED School™ solutions, contact us at 281-667-0404, or schedule a webinar with us.
Premier Wireless is the right partner to help you bring equity for all, improving the quality of education for every student as we navigate the new normal together.