Department of Education's Plan to Close the Three EdTech Divides

In January 2024, the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology released the 2024 National Educational Technology Plan (NETP): A Call to Action for Closing the Digital Access, Design, and Use Divides. The NETP examines how technologies can raise the bar for all elementary and secondary students.

California Aims $2 Billion at Students Hurt by Remote Learning to Settle Lawsuit

In the fall of 2020, around the height of the debate over pandemic school closures, a lawsuit in California made a serious claim: The state had failed its constitutional obligation to provide an equal education to lower-income, Black and Hispanic students, who had less access to online learning. State officials distributed more than 45,000 laptops and more than 73,000 other computing devices to students, according to court documents in the case.

NFarms research will bring precision ag innovations to producers

University of Nebraska scientists and staff are formalizing existing research and outreach in precision agriculture into a strategic initiative called NFarms. The effort, in collaboration with producers and industry, will refine and expand precision agriculture capabilities crucial to boosting farm efficiency and environmental sustainability. NFarms will be a test bed for new technologies, as well as platforms to help farmers better harness data. The initiative also will develop innovative decision-making tools producers can use for efficient field management.

$120 Million Undersea Cable Project will Expand High-Speed Internet for Hawaii

The University of Hawaiʻi (UH) and Ocean Networks, Inc. (ONI) announce a $120 million, public-private partnership to construct a submarine optical fiber cable system that will connect the Hawaiian Islands and improve and expand high-speed broadband internet throughout the state. The project, the Hawaiian Islands Fiber Link (HIFL), is a key component of Connect Kākou, the state's broadband initiative, a top priority of the Governor Josh Green administration. Under the direction of Lt.

Developing Digital Skills and Opportunity in Arkansas

The purpose of the Arkansas Digital Skills and Opportunity Plan is to outline an actionable path forward to make digital opportunity an economic benefit and reality for all Arkansans. This plan will position the state’s residents to pursue cross-sectoral economic growth through broadband-related, nondeployment activities and enhance workforce development. The draft plan is open for public comment until January 25, 2024. ARConnect has a detailed vision for achieving digital opportunity in Arkansas: 

Minnesota Office of Broadband Development 2023 Annual Report

The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is located in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. OBD was created by statute in 2013 and just completed its tenth year of work on its mission to improve access to broadband service that meets the state’s speed goals, serving the needs of anchor institutions, and expanding the skills and knowledge needed to use these services. Border-to-Border high speed internet access is the goal throughout Minnesota. 2023 milestones for the Office included:

Equity-Based Grant Administration at NTIA: A Case Study

The Internet powers education and the economy, supports our health and well-being, and connects us to our neighbors and those we love. Four agencies are leading the historic effort to connect the entire nation and provide Internet for All. This case study captures insights from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA knows that meaningfully connecting everyone in America requires more than Internet access alone.

2024 National Educational Technology Plan: A Call to Action for Closing the Digital Access, Design, and Use Divides

The 2024 National Educational Technology Plan (NETP) examines how technologies can raise the bar for all elementary and secondary students. The 2024 NETP frames three key divides limiting the transformational potential of educational technology to support teaching and learning, including:

Dissent Arises as FCC Ponders E-Rate Funding for Off-Campus Hotspots

In comments to the Federal Communications Commission, associations representing rural broadband providers pushed back on a proposal to expand funding through the Universal Service Fund (USF) Schools and Libraries program (E-Rate) to include Wi-Fi hotspots at other sites outside of school and library buildings. Other commenters, however, said that the hotspots could connect students in low-income families, which they said should be a higher priority. The dispute began in October when the FCC adopted a Declaratory Ruling allowing E-Rate to fund school bus hotspots.

Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition Supports Federal Communications Commission's Initiative for Off-Campus E-rate Support

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition along with the Open Technology Institute at New America (OTI), filed comments responding to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in support of E-Rate support for off-campus internet access. The NPRM proposes to allow schools and libraries to apply for funding from the FCC’s E-Rate program for Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless internet access services to be used by students and library patrons in need.