A glimpse at fiber-haves and fiber-have-nots from Aaron Brown on MN’s Iron Range

The Daily Hibbing today posts a column from Aaron Brown, voice from the from lines of rural Minnesota and broadband advocate. He details the joys of having fiber during a pandemic…

As a result of having high speed internet my family opened our first week of “remote learning” last Monday with all the tools we needed. As a college instructor, I conducted a video conference for my students so I could explain how they can finish the course and graduate. My wife Christina, who also works at the college, was able to confer with colleagues and students as they navigated problems in their education.

Each of my three sons was able to use his school iPad to access not only his assignments, but the actual talking heads of all his teachers, who could answer any questions he might have. No, it was not the same as learning in a social environment. But it was a way to keep learning while protecting human life during a crisis. And we are grateful for that.

But there’s more than just education at stake. There’s our health and economic future: the two most important aspects of the coronavirus story so far.

And a glimpse at the other end of the digital divide…

But it is not so for many others, including some who live even closer to town than we do. The limits of cell phone hotspots and slower internet services became a living hell for many during this crisis. Schools talk about the achievement gap between students of means and privilege and those who have neither. That gap became a canyon this week, requiring herculean efforts by educators and parents. And still children and families are being left behind.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, education, MN and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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