Michelle Bettis is an Instructional Coach at Ooltewah High School & Central High School and has been a Tech Goes Home trainer since 2017. She shares her experience with Tech Goes Home below.
When I first heard about the Tech Goes Home organization, I thought the concept was almost too good to be true! Now two years later, I am even more amazed by the generosity of the donors to support this impactful work. Technology immerses every aspect of our life. We are often so busy in our daily tasks that most students, parents, and teachers do not realize how technology dependent we are. While many families in our area have access to the internet, the reality is there are many families who do not have access to a device or to an affordable internet service provider.
I consider Tech Goes Home to be a win-win-win situation. For students, TGH instructors provide useful, lifelong technology skills that will enhance their learning through graduation and beyond. With the pressure to teach specific standards, many teachers simply do not have time to deeply explore tech learning needs students may have. There’s rarely time to practice using helpful resources that can support students’ specific instructional needs. Simply having time to review shortcuts and alternative ways of accessing online information is beneficial for students and parents. More importantly, sessions are a great opportunity to review digital citizenship, the importance of our digital footprint, and online safety.
For parents, the sessions provide resources that meet parents needs at any level. Sessions are a great opportunity to engage parents in how to best access school online resources like PowerSchool, the HCS app, HCS website, and the new district learning management system Canvas. The model for the sessions allows parents and their child to learn together. During sessions, I often observe a child proudly teaching their parent how they use Google tools to complete assignments in their classes. With the 2018-19 middle school 1:1 initiative, and now the high schools will be 1:1 for the 2019-2020 school year, there’s a greater urgency to educate parents on resources, safety, and general technology skills.
For educators, Tech Goes Home offers a platform to interact with families in a meaningful way. In general, teachers communicate with parents by phone, email, parent conferences, or during athletic events. Tech Goes Home gives teachers a chance to connect with families through technology. The best class for the instructor is the last session and not for the reason you might think. During the last session, each family presents the Google Slides they created together on their chosen topic. I have learned where the best dog parks are, the best places to camp, how to refinish furniture, care for guinea pigs, little known facts about Peyton Manning, and much more! With three children of my own, I realize the importance of internet safety, digital citizenship, and monitoring screen time.
As an educator, I feel Tech Goes Home has given me the platform to share resources to keep children safe as they navigate the digital world. The technology phenomenon will not stop evolving and we must continue to learn and grow with the ever-changing digital world! We all want students to be independent device users, but we have to equip students and their families with the skills they need!
By Mary Smith
As schools continually move toward digital homework, employers place their job openings and applications online, and community events are advertised over social media and through email communications, internet access at home is not a luxury anymore-- it is vital in order to remain informed and engaged. Unfortunately, internet access may be unaffordable and eligibility can be confusing to determine. We've gathered information on options available in the greater Chattanooga area to help make your decision a little less stressful!
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are listed in alphabetical order. Tech Goes Home CHA does not endorse any specific ISP and provides these details for informational purposes only. In order to confirm eligibility and apply for service, you must contact the ISP directly.
AT&T Access provides internet service for $10 per month (plus applicable taxes). In order to qualify, someone in the household must receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps.
Internet speeds will depend on your location. AT&T will automatically assign you the highest available speed: either 3, 5, or 10 Mbps (megabits per second). Additionally, you will be assigned a data cap of either 150 or 250 GB (gigabytes). Exceeding your data cap will incur an additional $10 fee for every 50 GB that you of over (regardless of whether you use the entire 50 GB).
There is no additional installation fee or equipment purchase required. However, you may not be eligible for service if you have an outstanding balance with AT&T in the last six months.
Call 855-220-5211 or visit att.com/access to apply.
Comcast Internet Essentials
Comcast Internet essentials offers internet access for $9.95 per month (plus applicable taxes). Households are eligible by either receiving HUD assistance (such as Public Housing or Section 8 Voucher) or by having a child participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP, also known as Free and Reduced Lunch).
Internet speed is somewhat faster at 15 Mbps. Access is unlimited, so you will never reach a data cap or have your speed throttled due to frequent usage.
There is no additional installation fee or equipment purchase required. However, if you have an outstanding balance with Comcast in the last year, you may not be eligible for service. (Balances over a year old may still qualify.) Additionally, the household must not have subscribed to Comcast within the last 90 days.
Call 855-846-8376 or visit internet essentials.com to apply.
EPB NetBridge provides internet service for $26.99 per month (plus applicable taxes) for households with a child participating in the Free and Reduced Lunch program or a child attending a Community Eligibility (CEP) school within Hamilton County.
Internet speed is the same as EPB's regularly-priced Fiber Internet: 100 Mbps, which is substantially faster than any other ISP offers at a reduced rate. Like Comcast Internet Essentials, access is completely unlimited.
There is no additional installation fee or equipment purchase required. Eligibility must renewed every year to ensure a child in the household still meets criteria.
To apply, contact your child's HCDE school. They will be able to provide you with the necessary NetBridge permission form. You may also contact EPB at 423-648-1372 for further information.
PCs for People
PCs for People offers internet access for as low as $10 per month on average, but it requires a pre-paid plan and one-time equipment purchase. Plans are available for three months at $40, six months at $75, or twelve months at $120. In order to qualify, the household must be enrolled in a income-based government assistance program such as SNAP, Section 8, TANF, LIHEAP, SSD or SSI. (Alternately, the household must be within 200% of the Poverty Level.)
Internet speeds range from 5 to 12 Mbps. Service is unlimited through the Sprint 4G LTE network. (Unfortunately, if you do not live within the Sprint coverage area, you will not be eligible for this program.)
There is a one-time equipment purchase of $79.95 for the wireless LTE modem. There is no credit check and no additional installation or service fees.
Call 651-354-2552 or visit pcsforpeople.org to apply.
We've also simplified all of this information into a table format, viewable HERE.
All information taken from Healthcare.gov
The deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act for January 2019 coverage is December 15th! The comprehensive health care reform law enacted in March 2010. The law has 3 primary goals:
Healthcare.gov can walk you through renewing or obtaining new coverage. You can also have someone contact you about the program or go find local assistance. You can also learn about the plans before you log into or create an account through their quick start guide.
Unsure about what documentation you'll need to sign up? Healthcare.gov also provides a "Marketplace Application Checklist"
Still need assistance? Have someone contact you with more information or visit a local agent who can help!
By Sammy Lowdermilk
Many of us continually look for ways to grow through learning new things, new skills. There are numerous opportunities throughout our community to take classes or seek additional certifications or degrees. However, our schedules don't always allow for these classes, and, quite frankly, sometimes we simply want to know how to do something. Online resources allow us to seek new skills, new knowledge, on our own schedules and at our own pace. Below I've compiled a few places to start your continued-learning journey.
Before we explore online resources, some may be interested in certifications and degrees. Tennessee Reconnect allows "adults enter higher education to gain new skills, advance in the workplace, and fulfill lifelong dreams of completing a degree or credential." Get connected to Reconnect!
Interested in learning Microsoft Office? Social media? Career planning? Graphic design? GCFLearnfree covers a bit of everything. It's the perfect place for an eager learner to start. The site utilizes online videos, tutorials and interactive gaming to help you learn about over 180 topics.
Finances can be difficult, and finding ways to learn about finances can be even more difficult. It's never easy to admit our ignorance about money, so this online tool can be extremely helpful, not only to increase your awareness of your finances, but learning the right additional questions to ask. Money As You Grow is a financial learning tool for people of all ages.
Knowing multiple languages is such an invaluable asset in today's world. Duolingo gives you access to learn over 30 different languages through their interactive, online learning platform. The site also allows you to learn at your own pace. It's free, so dive right in.
Khan Academy: Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. Khan Academy tackles math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more.
G Suite Learning Center: This is the best place to start for learning about Google Suite apps. Interested in Google Docs? Hangouts? Google Sheets? This is the resource you need.
Looking for more? Be sure to check out our online resources!
"Note that Tech Goes Home does not receive ad revenue from these organizations - or any other. These are our honest recommendations, which we hope may help.
By Sammy Lowdermilk
While holiday shopping can be filled with long lines, eager shoppers, and parking lots full of clueless drivers, there are few things to be mindful of as you shop online. Below, I've compiled a few resources that may help you navigate the online marketplace.
Locals Only Chattanooga
Looking for more? Be sure to check out our online resources!
"Note that Tech Goes Home does not receive ad revenue from these organizations - or any other. These are our honest recommendations, which we hope may help with your holiday shopping.
Do you struggle with typing? Do you have to backspace often? Are you looking to improve your skills for a job? Here are some resources to improve your typing skills!
Learn touch typing online using TypingClub's FREE typing courses. It includes 650 typing games, typing tests and videos. You can login to save your progress and earn badges for your improved skills. Improve your speed and accuracy!
Typing.com provides FREE online, interactive typing lessons. This resource is for individuals of all skill sets and makes typing feel like a game. There is also an option for teachers to set up profiles for their classrooms.
TypingGames.zone focuses on young students who are learning to type. These interactive games can be selected using a wide variety of filters including subject area and age.
Part of mastering the keyboard is also learning those shortcuts to make your life easier and work faster. There are numerous articles about mastering these shortcuts, but why not just go straight to the source, Google.