MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — School is just hours away for many Minnesota kids. For some that means buses and lockers, and for others it means laptops and living rooms. For the latter group, getting the kinks out of the distance learning technology is key. WCCO got some tips on getting your devices in top school form.

Over the course of 2020, we’ve all had some moments while dealing with technology. Hopkins mom Danyika Leonard just had one of those moments.

“We were just having a meeting with my son’s teacher and because my son did not charge it, in the middle of the meeting it cut off,” Leonard said.

She plans to make sure devices charge overnight. But some issues are more complicated. Her kindergartener and fifth-grader start hybrid learning, and she and her husband work from home.

“Whatever our internet package is, we are going to have to have to figure out how to increase that and if that needs to change, and if we can afford it honestly,” she said.

It turns out there may be some ways around that. WCCO talked with a Comcast Twin Cities Tech expert, who says one big way to help the connection is by plugging the Ethernet cable directly into your laptop.

“The fewer devices you can have on wireless and turn over to that connection, the better performance you’ll have in general,” Tom Henchal, senior manager for product management at Comcast Twin Cities, said.

Those are the details he suggests figuring out before school starts, start with the placement of your modem.

“If you have a main level living room space that you can put that device in, and have it line of sight so you can actually see it, that’s really gonna help the WiFi performance,” Henchal said.

And make sure the modem and router are reset regularly.

“That’s as simple as unplugging the power cord on the back of it, waiting about 30 seconds and plugging it back in,” he said.

Henchal says to do a speed test, which you can do through a free Google search. On average you’ll want three to megabytes, more if you stream 4K video.

As for the Leonards, for now, they are staggering device use time, getting ready for hybrid learning, but preparing for the possibility of another quarantine.

“Which is stressful, but that’s the reality is I have to be ready for anything,” Danyika Leonard said.

Click here or here for some extra tips on performance, rebooting, and internet speeds. And here is a program that helps low income families attain better internet.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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