Mount Vernon Elementary, Barbour County, WV

  • Connectivity Description:
    • 5 Mb/s WAN
    • 1.5/1 student/devices
    • Adequate WiFi AP
    • 65% of students lack sufficient home broadband
    • No cell service within a 5 mile radius of school
  • Challenges:
    • Lack of school bandwidth, a typical video took 20 minutes to stream.
    • Acute need for learning resources access outside school.
    • Severe winter waether often causes missed school days.

Without any network infrastructure upgrade other than URcast, teachers are easily sending large videos, books and other educational resources to student devices. Principal Tammy Tucker: “The students have been using the URcast system since September. I thought maybe the excitement would wear off; it has not. The students use them (tablets) in class and at home. Our internet concerns are gone. It is very difficult to plan on showing a video clip during class and to find it does not work. We can also let students watch the video in small groups or on their own and stop to discuss and move at their own pace. They can also all get on the same video at once. This was not a possibility before. The internet could not handle it. A couple weeks ago, the internet was down for the county. We did not care Everything we needed was on our serer. The students are also finding things for me to put on the system for the class.”

Their creativity and resourcefullness with this new technology is remarkable. This summer Mount Vernon is instituting a program where parents come to school each week to access the WiFi/URcast and load up their student’s low-cost devices with books and other learning material for summer reading.

Tammy shared this email from one of her home-bound students from a recent snow day:

From: Landon Burton
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2015 9:09 AM
To: Tammy Tucker
I’m getting ready to do my flip classroom and student message center

We asked if parents and students like URcast. The response;
“They love it. They can watch videos and other materials in class and at home now. Tests and quizzes are easier for the students to access with no copies needed.”

Mount Vernon submitted this testimony to the FCC during the E-rate proceedings:
“URcast had an immediate positive impact on our digital network. There was no need for increase in bandwidth, WAN or internal WiFi connectivity. Caching sped learning resource and Internet content delivery time dramatically, eliminating web access time and allowing more time for learning. We’ll be able to reduce future learning resource costs (text books, work books, and copies.”

Mount Vernon has been extensively using URcast for testing, distributing free Gutenberg books and accessing other free resources. Tammy stated: “We’ve never had communications between parents, students and teachers exist as they do now. Parents now get involved in their children’s learning and students with minimal home Internet use their DSL or wireless service for teacher email communications while URcast does the heavy lifting of providing videos and other material.”