How to make remote learning easily accessible

When school starts again in the fall, it’s likely that a significant number of students will still be learning remotely. To make classrooms less crowded and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many states and districts are considering a hybrid approach in which some students attend school and some learn from home, such as by having students alternate between in-person and remote learning.

One of the key lessons learned in the shift to remote learning this spring was the need to make online instruction easily accessible to everyone. K-12 school systems have taken many actions to ensure that students have the technology they need to learn from home, such as distributing mobile devices and wireless hotspots to students who need them and even negotiating deals with internet service providers to extend free or discounted broadband service to low-income families.

Related content: 5 ways to build a community of learners online…Read More

3 Google Fiber programs that could help ease the digital divide

Google’s affordable broadband service is already impacting some communities and schools

The latest Digital Equity report from the Consortium of School Networking paints a picture of an educational environment where schools are at least on the right path to providing access to high-speed wi-fi within their walls (though there is still plenty of work to be done). An equally pressing problem is the fact that the number of pupils with fast connectivity dwindles as they move away from their K-12 hubs—and the divide deepens even further when issues like socioeconomic status, income, and race are taken into account.

According to The Pew Research Center, 82.5 percent of American households with school-age children currently have broadband access at home. This is approximately 9 percentage points higher than the broadband adoption rates across all households, CoSN reports, but there are still 5 million households with school-age children which lack broadband in the home.

“Students in these households experience what is being labeled the ‘homework gap,’” reported CoSN, pointing out that more than 75 percent of school district technology leaders have no strategy for addressing off-campus access.…Read More

Universal Service reform: What it means for schools

Broadband providers and their customers, including schools, will face new compliance challenges as the web of federal programs supporting broadband service grows larger and more intertwined.

With broadband service becoming an increasingly essential tool for participating in modern life, federal policy makers are pursuing regulatory reforms that will fundamentally refocus the government’s “Universal Service” programs and related regulations to spur more broadband deployment and adoption—a marked departure from the historical primacy of circuit switched voice services.

These reforms promise to give community anchor institutions, including schools and libraries, access to a wider variety of affordable broadband service than ever before. The changes also promise to expand the range of broadband services eligible for support under the federal Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism (also known as the “e-Rate”).

At the same time, broadband service providers and their customers—including schools—will face new compliance challenges as the web of federal programs supporting broadband infrastructure grows larger and more intertwined.…Read More

Federal broadband service map reveals need for connectivity

 

Most schools have internet connections, but higher speeds are necessary for learning.

 

The National Broadband Map, released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Feb. 17, reveals that while the majority of schools are connected to the internet, those connection speeds are not meeting the needs of students and teachers.…Read More