Connected homework stations: tips from Rogers TechXpert advisors

35% of youth believe tablets will replace text books Growing up with two brothers created several challenges when it came to getting homework done on the computer. With one Dell desktop, dial-up Internet and one phone line shared between a family of five, you can imagine the battles that ensued. That one computer was our primary tool for all school papers, essays and projects, and also served as a way for us to connect with friends through instant messenger, online chat and email.

Today, the homework space looks much different than it did 15 years ago. Connectivity is now the name of the game and we have countless options when it comes to setting up a virtual homework space. With this in mind, we went to our TechXpert advisors Andjelko Pavlovic and Tim Leslie to weigh in on what makes a great connected homework space:

How is technology changing the home for students to study?

Today, technology in the Internet connected household immeasurably increases the average student’s access to information. Information that was previously accessible only through libraries, encyclopedias, or through only one (or very few) resources can now be accessed virtually by students from the comfort of their home.  And homework spaces no longer have the stereotypical boundaries of a desk or home office. Students can now be productive from completely mobile workspaces facilitated through laptops, tablets, and smartphones that connect to the Internet through Wi-Fi hotspots, wireless gateways, and cellular technologies.

Technology has also empowered students to learn in their own unique ways. Students who get stuck understanding specific concepts can now look up help in a search engine or even a video on YouTube to get instant help. Many schools now maintain websites that allow students to keep track of their agendas and even collaborate with their peers. Technology and the Internet have truly become essential tools for learning – instant communication and the ability to share screens over a high speed connection with a group – these are exciting times to be a student!

In setting up a home network, what should parents consider?

Wired vs. wireless, location, speed, range, security features, and parental controls. The foundation of a home network is typically a router or gateway. A great starting point for parents setting up a network is to take a look at the location where the home network will be set up and deciding what is practical to connect. Wired connections are typically the fastest and most secure but it may not be practical to run wiring throughout your home. It also isn’t practical if you are sharing an Internet connection with multiple household members in different rooms with a multitude of connected devices, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

This is why Wi-Fi wireless has become such a great choice. Parents will want to pay special attention to security and parental controls to keep the network safe, secure, and manageable. 

What about homework stations? How can these be set up?

That depends on the age of the student. Many elementary aged students are now using the Internet for their homework research.  It’s recommended that computer workstations be located in a visible location for younger students. For older students, a homework station can feel like their own ‘office,’ and it can quickly become a place where the student enjoys spending time and feels motivated to complete their homework!  A power bar with surge protection is also a good idea.

How can parents help their kids manage their Internet access for school nights?

In today’s busy world, scheduling is key. We recommend parents work with their children to create a schedule for both recreational activities, and studies.     

Michelle is a regular contributor to RedBoard

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