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Wireless Internet initiative launched

Schools, chamber assemble directory

POSTED: January 31, 2013 12:31 a.m.
 

The Forsyth County school system’s website is becoming a hot spot for hotspots.

Through a partnership between the school district and the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, a free Wi-Fi directory has been created for students, businesses and community members looking for a place to access the Internet.

“Creating [the] directory is a natural expansion of services that support our community’s high quality of life standard,” said James McCoy, chamber president and CEO.

“By working together to identify and map free Wi-Fi locations, we will create a cloud of coverage that not only benefits students, but those that also live and work in our community.”

McCoy went on to note that Forsyth strives to be “the most connected county along the Ga. 400 technology corridor” and that directory is “a step in the right direction for continued development of our economic infrastructure.”

The hot spots, which allow computers, cell phones, tablets and other devices to wirelessly access the Internet will be posted by businesses to the school system’s website.

School Superintendent Buster Evans described the directory as “an invaluable resource to students that are learning on the go with their mobile devices or may not have Internet access in their homes.”

“We have an extremely supportive network of organizations and businesses in Cumming-Forsyth County that understand how important it is for students to stay connected for continued learning opportunities,” Evans said.

“We encourage all of our Partners in Education to collaborate with the school district and the chamber to provide this free resource to our over 39,000 students, and to all residents and visitors of our community.”

McCoy wants the program to have early participation from the business community, including firms that already work with local schools for various programs.

“My hope is that … we’ll spread out through Forsyth County and what’s more important than having tons and tons of folks supporting this is making sure there’s fairly close access for all, particularly students, folks who need Internet access to have it close to where they live and close to where they go to school,” McCoy said.

“A huge issue in any community is the technology gap. And the more that we can all do for the community to help bridge that gap — from access to hardware and also the Internet and all of the unbelievable resources it provides — I think that’s one of those things that will help the tide to rise.”

In addition to posting the Wi-Fi locations on the directory, which includes an interactive map of hotspots, area businesses will receive a logo to post on their building alerting people to the service.

The directory will also play well into the school system’s Bring Your Own Technology initiative, said chief technology and information officer Bailey Mitchell.

The initiative allows students to bring their own devices to school to access content relevant to lessons.

According to Mitchell, the directory will enhance the program by giving technology equity for all students, including those unable to use their devices outside the district’s wireless network.

“Our district’s BYOT initiative help helped us achieve a more ubiquitous technology environment for learning,” Mitchell said. “[The] directory will enable us to build coalitions involving business and our community support organizations to scale these efforts, beyond school and in the community.”

 

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