By ANGELINE JANE BERNABE and JACLYN ROTH, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — As schools across the country slowly reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, 12 out of the 15 largest school districts in the United States have chosen to go back to school remotely.
While it’s a safer option, it poses an economic challenge for parents who cannot afford to purchase another laptop or better Wi-Fi at home. It also poses a challenge for kids who don’t have internet access at home and who have trouble learning on their own.
But tech experts like Stephanie Humphrey, the author of Don’t Let Your Digital Footprint Kick You in the Butt, which is out now, shared a few budget-friendly ways to virtual schooling with ABC News’ Good Morning America to help parents and kids navigate the fall semester seamlessly.
Hacks to get internet at home
According to recent data from the National Center for Education and Statistics, more than nine million school children will have difficulty completing assignments online and 14% of children don’t even have internet access at home.
But with the help of websites like EveryoneOn.org, a nonprofit that connects low-income families to affordable internet service and computers, and CommunityVS.org, Humphrey says that there are ways to access the internet.
Hacks to boost your Wi-Fi signal
For those who do have internet access at home, many know that it’s sometimes difficult to get a good signal, especially if there are multiple people in the home using it. While you can just pay to boost your signal, it can get pricey.
So, one way to boost your signal that Humphrey shared is to assess the best places in your house to work with a free app like CloudCheck, which helps find the strongest signal in your home. All you have to do is press one button to find out if you’re working in the best spot in your house.
If you still need a boost, Humphrey said to add an extender for around $30 like the TP Link AC 750, which is compatible with all standard routers and has an easy one button setup.
Hacks to help kids who need a tutor
With quarantine putting a dent in the way kids learn from a teacher or a tutor, sometimes it can be a challenge for kids who need that support to get through assignments.
Luckily, Humphrey pointed out that there are online resources like Coved.org and Tutor.com which aim to provide academic support for K-12 students with limited access to resources.
On Coved.org, students can get paired up with one of over 4,000 mentors in the program and on Tutor.com, students can find a tutor from over 2,000 libraries which provide tutoring sessions.
TutorMe is another resource which provides 24-7 online tutoring for $1 a minute. If your kid is stuck on one homework, you can pay for 10 minutes of tutoring instead of one whole hour. This is a great, more affordable way to give your student access to educational resources for a short time.
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