Motlow students receive free smartphones

“With this new phone and fast 5G, I have been able to do my schoolwork even with my many health challenges,” said Motlow State Community College Student Olivia Tunley, who travels to Ohio to receive treatment. “Now I am not scared of failing due to my health.” (Photo by Motlow State Staff.)

LOCAL EDUCATION NEWS — If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that schoolwork isn’t limited to only what can be accomplished in a classroom. Many students now attend classes and complete assignments from laptops, tablets, and smartphones from anywhere. Motlow State and T-Mobile recently partnered to secure new smartphones for 2,100 students across all campuses, according to College officials.

Through the program, Motlow State is giving students a Samsung Galaxy A32 5G smartphone with T-Mobile service to enhance student success and learning. Students will receive all services, including unlimited hot spots, talk, text and data free for one year. The phone features Outlook, OneDrive, Khan Academy, D2L Brightspace, and many more helpful options. The one-year free phone service was paid for by funding sources blended to support students negatively impacted by the pandemic.

“Engagement, retention, persistence, and completion are not the only benchmarks of success at Motlow. Our purpose rests with helping our students transition future-ready into the workforce or while choosing to further their educational pursuits. We are committed to creating the internal infrastructures and providing the tools needed across our educational ecosystem. Motlow is overjoyed with the shared vision and support from our partners.”

Motlow State President Dr. Michael Torrence

The mobile devices will enhance online education, which has transformed the way students connect to the classroom. Providing students with 5G connectivity goes beyond the classroom to also creating a better campus experience. The Galaxy A32 5G is pre-loaded with the customized Motlow State College learning management system so students can connect with their coursework, classmates, and faculty at any time, from anywhere. The plan puts 5G technology in the hands of Motlow State students and are available on a first come, first serve basis.

The project ensures students are prepared for the future and have the technology needed to succeed. Motlow State is working with faculty to develop curriculum focused on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to enhance learning in-and-outside of the classroom.

“Currently, within our Workforce Development Division, MotlowTrained, the use of 5G connected devices will further enhance our extended reality (XR) academy training and functionality for our VR/AR enabled curriculum like mechatronics, MOT, robotics, and in various cases EMT/AEMT training,” said Torrence. “The most exciting component for us is pairing 5G wireless connectivity to propel greater innovation in the advanced manufacturing, medical, armed forces training, and within the spirits industry.”

To support retention and overall student success, these devices will help students in three critical areas: mental health, hunger, and homelessness. Motlow’s goal is to best prepare its students with integrated services both through work, training, and personal support.

“Our rationale for seeking such an enabling partnership with T-Mobile is braided together among the need to address hunger, healthcare, and homelessness. The preloaded applications will support our students,” explained Torrence.•

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