Increasing and Improving Internet Access for All Students!

FutureReadyMap

Future Ready Map by http://Tech.ed.gov

For our schools to be ready for the Future, is indeed a concern especially for so many low-income and rural schools lacking Wi-Fi and technology.  I am encouraged by FCC Chairman proposed $1.5B increase on E-Rate spending from $2.4B to $3.9B, which will be voted on December 11, 2014.  Tom Wheeler tried to emphasize how small the increased cost will be to ratepayers, “If the FCC reaches the maximum cap recommended, the estimated additional cost to an individual rate payer would be approximately 16 cents a month, about a half a penny per day, or about $1.90 a year—less than a medium-sized soda at a fast food restaurant or a cup of coffee,” a fact sheet released yesterday says.

  1. 68% of all districts (73% of rural districts) say that not a single school in their district can meet high-speed internet connectivity targets today.
  2. Nearly 41% of rural public schools lack access to fiber networks sufficient to meet modern connectivity goals for digital learning, compared to 31% of suburban and urban public schools.
  3. 14% of schools in low-income rural and urban areas meet speed targets, compared to 39% in affluent areas.
  4. 45% of school districts lack sufficient Wi-Fi capacity to move to one-to-one student-to-device deployments which is increasingly necessary to achieve modern digital learning objectives.
  5. More than half (58%) of districts say the monthly recurring expense of connections is the most significant barrier to faster service.

I think we need audits that clearly show how and where the money is being used for internet related items and where it will be used. We must assure that the schools with the greatest needs are online or upgraded first! According to one vendor, there are five major cost areas to consider: Architecture, Access Points, Antennas, Bandwidth, and Software.

I  have these suggestions:

  1. Build partnerships with companies to donate some service/supplies to the schools.
  2. As you quantify what “Future Ready” means, provide standard scales that schools can use to evaluate their status and where they need to be.
  3. Provide incentives for districts to build School-to (Out-of-District) School mentorship. Districts should not compete against each other as sometimes constant scoring and ranking might promote.
  4. Districts can take the Future Ready Pledge here.  ” The pledge recognizes the importance of building human capacity within schools and districts for effectively using increased connectivity and new devices to transform teaching and learning.”

As mentioned in a recent Homeroom blog for the Department of Education, there are other skills important for being Future Ready that include better developing 21st century skills.   Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton asked the defining question this way, “What will Future Ready look like when we accomplish it?”  I, along with many education leaders such as Alliance for Excellent Education, believe that education that prepares our students for the future must involve “Deeper Learning.  Read one of my next blogs, “Digging Deeper into Deeper Learning.”

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About Bren Martin

Brenda is an education advocate and has been an active leader in the schools, church and community. She is a National PTA Social Media Ambassador and was a Panelist on NBC's Education Nation in New York City, "Stepping Up: The Power of a Parent Advocate," for Parenting Magazine. Brenda was honored by the U. S. Department of Education and the White House as a “Champion of Change” for educational advocacy. She is Parenting Magazine’s Mom Congress-Kentucky delegate and a recipient of Knowledge Universe-KinderCare’s Education Achievement Award! (See Parenting Magazine’s, “The Power and Potential of Parent Advocates,“ and one of Brenda’s articles, “Changing Us, Changes Them.“) Some of her services include: District PTA President and State PTA Board; Education Commissioner's Steering Committee for Teacher Effectiveness. She is a former regional President, Gifted Education; Summer Camp Creator/Director; Church Youth Director; Vacation Bible School Director; Prichard Committee’s Commonwealth of Institute for Parent Leadership (CIPL) Fellow; School Based Decision Making; Employability Skills Consultant to prison & colleges; Television Special host and more. Also, Follow Brenda on Twitter @bdrumartin. Disclaimer: Use sites, blogs, information or links at your own risk.
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One Response to Increasing and Improving Internet Access for All Students!

  1. Technology is very important in engaging students as well as providing them access to new developments quickly while adding useful skills as they strive to become “career and college ready”! I am so pleased that the FCC voted to increase the Erate funding by $1,5B for faster internet for schools. For more see, see http://all4ed.org/press/gov-bob-wise-praises-fcc-decision-to-expand-high-speed-internet-access-in-nations-schools-and-libraries/#.VInlT2oZZ34.twitter.

    Also see my forum on Edweek http://www.edweek.org/forums/education-forums_education-technology_technology-artillery-increase-graduation-rates?plckFindPostKey=Cat:047dba43-3f1d-45c3-831f-9125f292c0a4Forum:001cd4c6-4a20-4742-ae9a-6815ffe128c0Discussion:5ae15134-2789-41f1-a76d-de05d4a9967cPost:2d8e895a-ffbc-45b9-ab4e-6d7eb3f81699

    Like

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