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How Your Cell Phone Bill Helps EdTech

It might be hard to imagine, but your monthly cell phone bill is contributing to the EdTech push in K-12 schools nationwide.

A TechCrunch report reveals that the 90-cent charge that you receive on your monthly bill is the key to fueling what they call the “renaissance in education technology.”

The article highlights the early struggles in funding for initial technology adoption in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. TechCrunch later mentions that in 2013 there were still fewer than 20 percent of educators that found their schools connectivity needs being met. These combined challenges caused the government to find a way to combat the difficulties of funding EdTech.

“To address the problem head-on, the U.S. Department of Education created ConnectED, a program that aims to fit 99 percent of America’s schools with broadband by 2018,” according to the article.

“Enter your phone bill. To make the EdTech-fueled program work, the FCC agreed to add an additional $1.5 billion to E-Rate, a decades old federal program that subsidizes telecommunications services for schools and libraries through monthly contributions from consumers’ telephone bills. They also made crucial moves to modernize it, directing funds from legacy allocations like fax machines and landlines to the more modern tech infrastructure.”

So, simply put, the 90-cent charge on your monthly phone bill is going towards improving the broadband and WiFi connectivity in schools nationwide. The article also states that the intent was to bring high-speed Internet to 75 percent of rural schools, as well as 10 million students by the end of 2015.

IDC predicts that K-12 IT spending will hit $4.7 billion in 2015, with significant budget going to student software, applications and computer upgrades,” according to TechCrunch.

“Subsequently, EdTech investment is expected to reach $2 billion this year, a staggering increase from the $385 million invested in the space in 2009. Many of the newly funded companies have a strong play in K-12.”

The U.S. Department of Education continues to find new ways to fund the ConnectED program. For many Americans, 90 cents from your monthly bill towards better connected classrooms for their children could be well worth the cost.

Read the full story here.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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