K-12 Connected Heat Map outlines classroom internet connectivity
As efforts to increase bandwidth and internet connectivity in K-12 schools grow, a new report from CDW-G, based on a survey of 400 K-12 IT professionals, reveals just how connected — or not — the nation’s classrooms are today.
The CDW-G K-12 Connected Heat Map outlines wired and wireless connectivity in a state-by-state display. The map is an ongoing project and CDW-G is asking schools to fill in their details to help make it more complete. Currently, there is not enough data to shade several states in the midwest and west.
Data from the Federal Communications Commission reveals that the federal E-Rate program has connected nearly all U.S. K-12 schools to the internet, though not all classrooms are connected.
And while statistics may show that the average school has roughly the same connectivity as the average U.S. school, it serves 100 times as many users.
In fact, more than half of schools (63 percent) don’t have enough bandwidth to meet digital learning needs, according to the nonprofit Education SuperHighway. This poses a problem when data reveals that online classes, streaming video content, and other online educational software become increasingly important in the classroom. Eduation SuperHighway estimates note that schools’ need for bandwidth grow at approximately 50 percent each year.
The majority of schools have an average connectivity speed of 1 Gbps, while fewer than one-quarter have 10 Gbps speed.
According to the map, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington have the most connected classrooms.
In the next three years, surveyed IT leaders’ plans to improve wired connectivity include increasing bandwidth (61 percent), improving or implementing network management (47 percent), increasing budget (46 percent), refreshing the network (36 percent), and using E-Rate funds (22 percent).
Over the next three years, plans for wireless connectivity include increasing bandwidth (52 percent), increasing budget (41 percent), increasing the number of access points on the network (40 percent), refreshing the network (35 percent), and improving or implementing network management (33 percent).