Education technology

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

Broadband Scarcity Looms Over Virtual School Year

As school districts hammer out plans to hold fall classes partially or fully online, educators and regulators are scrambling to get as many students connected to the internet as possible, highlighting the ongoing connectivity divide that threatens to further disadvantage low-income and rural learners. The problem is big enough that Congress may need to offer an answer. Chicago has demonstrated a particularly good model by striking contracts with providers like Comcast for bulk sponsored service accounts, which let the school distri

South Carolina offers first fix to broadband problem for families in need. But it’s only temporary

An estimated 650,000 South Carolinians don’t have high-speed internet access, making it nearly impossible go to a virtual class. So, as a temporary fix for that problem, schools have requested the state pay for internet access for 57,000 households for the upcoming school year mostly through mobile hotspots. Those requests are expected to increase as the academic year nears and parents decide whether to send their students to school for in-person instruction. The COVID-19 pandemic is shining a light on the lack of broadband access in some areas, especially rural communities.

WISPs and schools take a fresh look at 2.5 GHz spectrum

It’s been just over a year since the Federal Communications Commission dropped the educational use requirement for the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum, saying most licensees weren’t deploying the spectrum for its intended use. Now, with thousands of students facing the possibility of another semester outside the classroom, schools that hold spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band are reconsidering its value.

Virtual Learning Means Unequal Learning

Inequities in local school systems because of a lack of funding, technology or parental involvement will be exacerbated by schools’ remote learning and hybrid plans in response to the rapidly spreading coronavirus. School districts that can afford it are trying to help. Some are giving or loaning laptops to students who don’t have them. Others are giving out Wi-Fi hotspots so that children can get online. Elsewhere, some teachers are calling students individually to help with assignments, or even dropping off textbooks and paper homework.

As remote learning continues, leaders say Kentucky needs a 'New Deal' for internet access

As students throughout Kentucky prepare for a new school year and more remote learning amid a pandemic, the state should view internet access as a public good similar to electricity and school buses, several education and workforce leaders said. The issue of the Bluegrass State's "digital divide" was the focus of a briefing featuring former Kentucky education commissioner Wayne Lewis, State Sen.

AT&T to provide 11,000 hotspots to San Jose students without internet

As part of a citywide goal to prevent students from falling behind with virtual learning this school year, San Jose has partnered with AT&T to provide 11,000 hotspots to students and residents who have no internet access at home. Of the 11,000 hotspots, 8,000 will be donated to the Santa Clara County Office of Education, which is working with school districts to identify students who need access to the internet before the new school year starts this month.

33,000+ laptops, bound for Alabama schools, held up in customs

At least 18 school systems across Alabama are waiting on more than 33,000 new laptops, currently languishing in customs. Ryan Hollingsworth is director of the School Superintendents of Alabama, the organization representing the superintendents of all of Alabama’s 138 school districts. He said the laptops are being held as part of a human rights dispute. It is unclear what specific human rights dispute is holding up the equipment. The US Commerce Department has taken action over the last few months chiefly against imports made with suspected forced labor.

We need to address the digital divide causing an educational crisis

Millions of American students won't be heading back to the classroom this fall, at least not full time. From Los Angeles to New York, remote learning will continue into the fall. That leaves a staggering number of students at risk of falling behind or dropping out. Up to 30% of schoolchildren — as many as 16 million American kids — lack internet access or laptops for online learning. The digital divide has been with us for decades, and we're not going to solve it by August.

$180 Million to States Rethinking K-12 Education to Better Meet Students’ Needs During Coronavirus Disruption

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced more than $180 million in new grant funding will be awarded to 11 states rethinking education to better serve students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant will support states’ efforts to create new, innovative ways for students to continue learning in ways that meet their needs. Awardees include Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.