Compare & Connect K-12, a new digital tool created by the non-profit EducationSuperHighway, is designed to provide state leaders, school districts and service providers access to national broadband and pricing data in order to best support digital learning in America’s classrooms.
To use the tool, users can access data by either typing in a state or a school district name. EducationSuperHighway uses data from the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program application from the current funding year.
By typing in a state, users are able to see on an interactive map what school districts offer less than 100 kbps per student, a reference to the quality (or lack thereof) of Internet schools offer.
Users can also see which districts specifically have reported insufficient Wi-Fi.
When looking up Connecticut, for example, the map displays six school districts that offer less than 100 kbps/student and a total of 29 school districts that have reported insufficient Wi-Fi for students.
For more in-depth information, education officials and service providers can view the pricing of Internet Access and District WAN for every district in the state. Users can also view what service providers are operating within the state and what districts each specifically serve. This information allows interested users the option to compare broadband services and school districts with ease.
(Important to note: Data from public charter schools, private schools, libraries, non-instructional facilities and schools administered by Bureau of Indian Education is not included.)
All in all, EducationSuperHighway hopes Compare & Connect K-12 will further its mission of helping all students access quality digital learning by encouraging school districts to use the transparent data to reach school connectivity goals.
"By understanding how much bandwidth other school districts in your area buy and how much they pay for those services, schools districts will be armed with information to negotiate for significantly more bandwidth for their schools. Purchasing sufficient bandwidth for your students ensures they can meet the minimum bandwidth targets set by the FCC and take advantage of the promise of digital learning," EducationSuperHighway says in its FAQ section.
Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor