Education technology

Facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources

For students without home internet during pandemic, could FCC's E-Rate help?

The Federal Communications Commission has promoted several emergency measures to boost broadband connectivity during the coronavirus pandemic, which has required millions of people to rely on inadequate at-home internet connections for work and school. But without an immediate expansion of the agency’s E-Rate program — a K-12 school-based broadband subsidy created in 1996 — students around the country will continually be locked out of their virtual classrooms, said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

17 Million Students Lack Home Internet. With No Relief From Congress in Sight, Schools Deploy an Awkward Mix of Buses, Mobile Hotspots to Get Them Online

Rolling Wi-Fi-enabled school buses into neighborhoods and distributing personal hotspots to families were part of Washington's Central Kitsap School District's rapid response to getting families online once schools closed in the spring. But such programs have limitations and don’t always provide students the high-speed connections they need for Zoom classes and completing assignments — especially if there are multiple students in the home. While the problem permeates much of rural America, the lack of broadband can even be an issue for students living in tech hubs.

Ahead of New School Year, California Schools Receive Critical Funds to Support Distance Learning and Governor Newsom Signs Executive Order Directing State Agencies to Bridge Digital Divide

Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) announced that every eligible local educational agency in California has applied for and is receiving a portion of the $5.3 billion in learning loss mitigation funds secured through the state budget he signed in June. The Governor also signed an executive order directing state agencies across government to bridge the digital divide, building on the state’s efforts to provide computing devices and hotspots to students across the state. The order directs agencies to pursue a goal of 100 Mbps download speed.

Fuel the economic recovery by closing the great digital divide

Expanding the ability to work remotely, learn remotely, and conduct health care appointments through telehealth will be key steps in permitting economic activity to expand in the second half of 2020, and beyond. Further, a report by the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society shows that connected students are more likely to check their grades, do research, look up class information, and collaborate with peers than unconnected students. But local responses to the pandemic have raised the stakes on differential access to the internet.

‘A national crisis’: As coronavirus forces many schools online this fall, millions of disconnected students are being left behind

For all the talk of Generation Z’s Internet savvy, a stunning number of young people are locked out of virtual classes because they lack high-speed Internet service at home. In 2018, nearly 17 million children lived in homes without high-speed Internet, and more than 7 million did not have computers at home. The issue affects a disproportionately high percentage of Black, Latino and Native American households — with nearly one-third of students lacking high-speed Internet at home. Students in Southern states and in rural communities also were particularly overrepresented.

Illinois Addresses the Digital Divide

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed many hard truths, and one of them is our nation’s digital divide. In Illinois, the Office of Broadband, through its Connect Illinois broadband program, is working to ensure broadband use by everyone in the state.

Rural families without internet face tough choice on school

Roughly 3 million students across the United States don't have access to a home internet connection. A third of households with school-age children that do not have home internet cite the expense as the main reason, according to federal Education Department statistics. But in some rural places, a reliable connection can't be had at any price. The void is especially acute in eastern Kentucky. Many districts have been scrambling  to set up paper-based alternatives to online instruction or create WiFi hot spots in school parking lots and other public areas.

Comcast Launches New Internet Essentials Programs as Nation Gears Up for the Academic Year

With distance learning plans rolling out across the country due to the coronavirus, Comcast announced a new program for cities, schools, and nonprofits to connect large numbers of low-income K-12 students to the Internet at home. Internet Essentials will add the free xFi platform for parents to connect, protect, and monitor children’s devices and online activities.
Comcast will continue to offer 60 days of free Internet service for new Internet Essentials customers.

Groups Warn of Downsides to Remote Learning

Over 100 organizations and individuals, led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, have signed on to a letter warning about the downside of remote learning in the age of COVID-19 and beyond. As some school districts pull back on reopening in person due to spikes in the virus, privacy and other groups are warning parents and schools to "look past simplistic solutions peddled to increase EdTech profits, and find ways to limit students’ time on digital devices." Their concern is the push for remote learning will translate to EdTech companies capturing more children's data, crowd teac

Ohio drops 50% match requirement for school districts to access broadband funding

A push from an advocacy group for children in Ohio’s Appalachian region and two former governors has led Gov Mike DeWine’s (R-OH) administration to decide to expand broadband services to students without requiring school districts match 50% of their allocations. When the DeWine administration initially launched its plan to use a $50 million grant from federal CARES Act funds to purchase Wi-Fi hot spots and internet-enabled devices late in July, officials set a 50% match contribution for school districts to access the money.