Keeping students connected to the Internet is a priority

Posted on Monday, 6/19/2013 9:33 AM

So long as educators are open to collaborating with their peers, there is the possibility these individuals can arrive at solutions to the teaching problems they face. Whether they use faculty software to communicate with one another or meet in person, instructors with questions or concerns may receive helpful teaching tips from their fellow educators. 

Today, Internet access in the average school is about the same quality as connectivity in the average American home, according to the White House. The problem is the typical home does not have 200 times as many users trying to get on the web.

If students are to succeed in an increasingly technological world, they are going to need reliable Internet connections. Fortunately, President Obama and his administration are focused on making sure schools that require Internet upgrades receive them.

Connecting students to better education

According to the White House blog, fewer than 20 percent of American educators are working with an Internet connection they feel is adequate for the instruction they provide. This is especially true in rural communities, where students may be working with an Internet connection that is not as reliable as those in urban settings.

To solve this problem, Obama has introduced ConnectED, an initiative designed to provide high-speed broadband and wireless upgrades to schools. The assistance offered by ConnectED will be essential to leveling the playing field for all schools, which will be essential once the Common Core State Standards are fully implemented. In addition, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) will have its online assessments ready for states to administer beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year, according to PARCC's website. Without high-quality Internet access, schools will have trouble administering these tests.

ConnectED does not rely on the U.S. Congress. Instead, Obama has asked the federal government to use existing funds to tackle the nation's connectivity problems. At the same time, states, businesses and communities have been asked to make ConnectED's goals their own.

Highlighting the problem

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently delivered the keynote speech at The Cable Show, the cable industry's annual conference, according to the U.S. Department of Education's blog. This provided Duncan with an opportunity to shine a spotlight on issues related to students and a lack of Internet access at the schools they attend.

"... So much of this depends on good access to the Internet," Duncan said in his speech. "Broadband Internet has become the interstate highway system for communication and ideas - and today, it simply doesn't reach most schools. And it's time that, together, we build some on-ramps."

Duncan said that support for ConnectED will not only help wire almost every school in the country, but also increase teachers' technological training. It is possible the success of this initiative could also make technology more affordable to the educators and students who use it.

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