A major takeaway from one of the sessions at #edcampchicago last Saturday was the importance of involving the surrounding community when starting a one-to-one initiative.
Not all students will have an Internet connection at home and so it is important to provide them with a list of the community resources providing free Wi-Fi and their hours of operation. The list might include libraries, restaurants, community services, parks, and hospitals, and should offer helpful information. Local librarians in particular might need time to become familiar with the device that you plan to deploy. They might also offer peer services during certain hours. Restaurants and bookstores often request that Wi-Fi users buy food or beverages and might have a time limit. Libraries might offer peer services at certain hours. Hospitals might offer free Wi-Fi but only to patients and their visitors.
One of the participants last week worked in a rural area of Wisconsin and she mentioned that the local Jimmy John’s turned off their Wi-Fi as they had a hard time managing all the students that were showing up to use their connection.
Keep an up-to-date list available on your school website for students who find themselves in need of a connection, and provide the information they need so that your initiative gets off to a good start and provides a smooth transition for both the students seeking access in public community places and the provider of the services.