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The ConnectED initiative will provide high-speed broadband and stable Wi-Fi networks, which will be no less than 100Mbps with a target of 1Gbps

The White House is looking to expand and strengthen broadband in K-12 schools across the U.S. in hopes of bringing a greater learning environment to 99 percent of American students. 

The White House announced the ConnectED initiative today, which aims to upgrade connectivity, train teachers and offer new hardware/software for digital learning. 

The ConnectED initiative will provide high-speed broadband and stable Wi-Fi networks, which will be no less than 100Mbps with a target of 1Gbps. 

To make this happen, the White House said it will call on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update the E-Rate program, which gives 20 to 90 percent discounts to institutions that meet certain standards. In a 2012 FCC report, it was found that 80 percent of E-Rate recipients didn't receive the broadband they needed, with 78 percent saying they required more bandwidth.

The White House will also used ConnectED to bring broadband to rural communities. 

Aside from upgraded connectivity, teachers will be trained in technology so that students are benefitting from the tools provided. Teachers will also receive new digital education tools that will allow for interactive demonstrations, collaboration with other educators, immediate feedback to students and more. 

Teachers and students can't access the Internet without proper hardware, so ConnectED will also build on private sector innovation by providing Internet-connected, educational devices to students and teachers. It will also invest in educational software, including apps. 

"For the better part of the 20th century the United States led the world in educational achievement and attainment," said the White House. "Through the federal E-Rate program, we pioneered connecting schools to the internet. But the United States is now falling behind, squandering that early lead. Many of our leading competitors are moving forward with aggressive investments in digital learning and technology education. In South Korea, all schools are connected to the internet with high-speed connections, all teachers are trained in digital learning, and printed textbooks will be phased out by 2016. The durability of American competitiveness will be tied to our ability to produce graduates with the skills the economy demands."

Source: The White House

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By CaedenV on 6/7/2013 2:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
I work with a small private school, and they have got everything from smartboards to iPads. Being a private school they are simply able to charge enough to have some really nice things, and (other than the iPads) they are typically very smart with making tech purchases that make sense for the long run and will not cost a fortune to keep maintained and updated.
However, you can give a teacher all of the latest and greatest tools in the world, but if the teacher does not know how to use them then they are useless. The way we have it set up they can use their iPads to control the computer/projector, or they can display content from their iPad to the projector setup. It is nice because they can use the PC for big programs and flash content, but still display their iPad content for educational programs that are specifically on the iPad, and they can do it all from the iPad without having to move between machines.
The problem is that the teachers don't know what they are doing! Most of them think that their computer is broken because they cannot display flash content they are hosting from their iPad, or they wonder why they cannot connect to the network files via their iPad. AND THIS IS NOT A GENERATIONAL THING! I have several older teachers who work perfectly fine with the 'new fangled technology' and it is in fact a bigger issue with the younger teachers who cannot seem to get this figured out even though they have grown up with it.

Schools need to focus less on how to read and write, and a lot more on how to use technology appropriately and effectively (beyond a typing class!). A college degree just gets you an interview after college, after that it really isn't all that important (especially now that so many stupid people have them). Knowing how to use the tools available to you is what gets you a job, and constantly learning the new tools as they become available is what helps you keep it.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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