A recent study by the LEAD Commission found that 92% of teachers believe that technology is very important in helping students become more engaged and active participants in their own learning. As access to technology in the classroom becomes a necessity rather than a luxury for our nation’s students, we must do everything we can to ensure that we don’t leave anyone on the wrong side of the digital divide.
This is why Chairman Genachowski applauded today’s launch of the National School Broadband Test at this morning’s “Education Drives America” Bus Tour Kickoff Event at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, CA. The test is being conducted by EducationSuperHighway, an educational non-profit dedicated to ensuring that every K-12 school in America has high capacity (100MB+) Internet.
EducationSuperHighway is asking the nation’s teachers, administrators, and students to take one minute to run a broadband performance test that will automatically post results to a public database. It’s as easy as going to their web site, entering your school name, and hitting “Go”. Those interested in participating in the speed test can go to www.schoolspeedtest.org.
In addition, yesterday at the LEAD Symposium on Technology in Education at Stanford University, the Chairman challenged education technology leaders to work together with government to remove Internet bandwidth as a constraint on education and innovation in our nation’s schools.
Launched in early March, the LEAD Commission is a private sector initiative dedicated to developing a blueprint for K-12 schools to transition to interactive digital textbooks in five years. LEAD is issuing a plan for action in November 2012 and will incorporate input from a cross-section of teachers, parents, local government officials, school officials, students, and education technology industry leaders.
The FCC is the biggest funder of connectivity in K-12 schools in the United States and has disbursed $30 billion over the past 13 years through E-rate.
Recent modernizations to the E-rate program have brought affordable, super-fast fiber connections to America’s schools and libraries, and also allowed schools to provide Internet access to the local community after students go home via the “School Spots” initiative. The Learning On-the-Go mobile pilot has also helped the FCC learn how best to support wireless connectivity services for mobile learning devices, like digital textbooks.
The FCC’s education agenda is focused on helping educators, students, and parents transform learning opportunities through the use of technology at school, in the community, and at home.