Blog » Report: High speed Internet opens educational opportunities

Report: High speed Internet opens educational opportunities

In the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta region of Southwestern Alaska, the local community has come together to implement DeltaNet, a project to bring the benefits of high speed Internet to area schools and students. The program, now in its third year, has helped local students overcome huge geographical barriers to their education, and it's resulted in overall math and reading improvements for grades 3 through 6.

This is just one of the many examples of high speed Internet boosting educational opportunities in the U.S. contained in a new report by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). The report, released in mid-June, is the result of collaboration among government, education, and industry officials from all 50 states, and it contains both examples of high speed Internet's potential for improving education as well as recommendations for how our country can get the most out of this technology.

As the report says, we still have a long way to go before we take full advantage of high speed Internet in our educational system:

Although national statistics boast almost 98% connectivity in US schools, the substance and bandwidth of the connection is often problematic and insufficient. High-speed broadband access and connectivity are vital for economic growth, global competitiveness, education, innovation, and creativity. Ensuring high-speed broadband access for all students has become a critical national issue especially when considering the necessity for the use of technology in assessment, accountability, engagement, and preparing our students for work and life in the 21st century.

Among the most important ways high speed Internet can help improve students' performance:

  • Teachers and students need high-speed broadband access in their schools to take advantage of a wide range of new and rich educational tools and resources available for learning anytime, anywhere
  • Teachers need high-speed broadband access for professional development, and engaging in professional learning communities as well as accessing new educational resources such as curriculum cadres and education portals
  • Administrators need high-speed broadband access to conduct online assessments and to access data for effective decision making
  • Students need high-speed broadband access to overcome the digital divide in rural and low socio-economic areas

For a comprehensive discussion of the vast potential of high speed Internet for education in America, see the full report.

With such a powerful technology already within reach, we owe it to our children to take full advantage of high speed Internet and provide them with the best possible education. That is only possible if every school and every home in the U.S. can access these connections.

As the report concludes,

In order to provide students with an interactive learning environment necessary to build the high level skills essential to compete in the global economy, we need to ensure that our children have access to high-speed broadband both at school and at home -- with access that is affordable for all households.

Links:

State Educational Technology Directors Association

US Education System Must Step Up High-Speed Broadband Efforts to Maximize the Potential of Technology for Student Achievement and the 21st Century Global Economy (Marketwire)

High-Speed Broadband Access for All Kids: Breaking Through the Barriers (SETDA)

Category: Alaska