Increasing student online access is key to their future success, said an education advocacy group.
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released The Broadband Imperative: Recommendations to Address K-12 Education Infrastructure Needs. The report examines current trends driving the need for more broadband in teaching, learning and school operations; provides state and district examples of the impact of robust deployment of broadband; and offers specific recommendations for the broadband capacity needed to ensure all students have access to the tools they need to be college and career ready.
“This information and guidance regarding broadband will assist states in understanding this critical cornerstone for providing equitable access to digital resources, professional development, and a personalized learning landscape,” said Jorea Marple, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools.
Given existing trends and the experiences of leading states and districts, SETDA recommends that schools will need external Internet connections to their Internet service provider of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students and staff by 2014-15 and of 1 Gbps per 1,000 students and staff by 2017-18.
“Utah supports the use of broadband technology in all of its classrooms. Broadband infrastructure is a vital tool for schools today and will help prepare students for college and careers in the future,” added Larry Shumway, Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Broadband Imperative is a product of collaboration among state educational technology leaders, leading technology companies, and policy and practitioner experts who every day are faced with the challenges of insufficient broadband and witness to the successes of robust access. The numerous examples in the report of successful broadband implementation by states and leading school districts illustrate the power of a fully implemented system.
“Addressing teacher and student concerns regarding educational broadband reliability and speed is as critical as ensuring plumbing and electricity in schools. This report highlights the need for the federal government, states, districts and schools to invest not only in school broadband infrastructure but also more broadly to ensure students can access learning resources both in and out of school,” said Douglas Levin, Executive Director of SETDA. “Limited access to broadband must not become the stumbling block to helping all students make the most of their talents and abilities.”