7 reasons E-rate funding is critical for schools and libraries

Reliable high-speed internet access isn’t a “nice to have” – it’s absolutely essential for teaching and learning. Without reliable connectivity, students and teachers lose access to the digital tools and resources that make learning engaging and relevant.

In its annual E-rate Trends Survey, E-rate compliance services firm Funds For Learning takes a look at the federal E-rate funding landscape and analyzes how the funding stream supports learning in schools and libraries.

“This year’s Trends Report indicates that the E-rate program is solid and steady,” said John Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning. “While connectivity needs continue to evolve, the Trends Report tells a very important story about E-rate as a vital resource for schools and libraries. The past two school years have showed us that school communities depend upon broadband access and network security.”…Read More

4 things we need to realize about digital equity

As COVID made quite painfully clear, student access to reliable high-speed internet and engaging digital tools is essential. But many students don’t have access to these resources at school, at home, or both, leading to larger questions about the role of digital equity and student success during–and after–the pandemic.

A new CoSN study, supported by a grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, gives educators and policymakers a detailed view of students’ at-home learning experiences during the pandemic.

“Digital equity is not a new topic for CoSN. Since our founding, we have focused on addressing the digital divide and ensuring that fast connectivity, devices and equitable use happen in all classrooms. But since March 2020, the imperative of this outside-of-school challenge has become readily apparent to all. The Homework Gap was a chasm for millions of students and educators as the shift to remote learning occurred,” write Keith Krueger, CoSN’s CEO, and Steve Langford, chair of CoSN’s Board of Directors and the CIO of Oregon’s Beaverton School District, in the report’s introduction.…Read More

Savvas Learning Company Teams Up with EveryoneOn to Provide Free WiFi to 100 Families to Support Digital Learning at Home

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Savvas enables teachers to better connect with students by helping to close the digital divide

PARAMUS, NEW JERSEY — May 5, 2021 — To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, Savvas Learning Company, a K-12 next-generation learning solutions leader, has partnered with EveryoneOn.org to honor teachers by helping close the digital divide for students from low-income families. 

As part of its #SavvasThanks campaign for Teacher Appreciation Week 2021, Savvas is making a donation to EveryoneOn.org that will provide free high-speed Internet service to 100 families with school-aged students who are in need of reliable WiFi in their homes for digital learning. EveryoneOn.org is a nonprofit that works to connect low-income families to affordable Internet service, computers, and other digital resources.…Read More

3 ways to stay connected when going remote

You’ve just made a heroic effort to rapidly transition your teaching to online delivery in response to school closures. It’s important now to take a moment to consider how your students are adapting, and the equity and access issues resulting from this change in delivery.

For students learning remotely at home, these challenges may include limited access to computers, high-speed internet, campus support services, and a lack of social connection with peers and instructors.

Related content: 10 resources to help everyone navigate online learning…Read More

How two districts tackle the digital equity gap

Students expect easy and immediate access to technology tools and high-speed internet in schools, and recent research shows that 99 percent of school districts are offering enough bandwidth to support digital and mobile learning in classrooms. But the digital equity gap isn’t so easily solved.

While many schools have reliable high-speed internet access, many students leave school and go home to unreliable internet access, or no internet access at all. This means that even if students have a school-issued take-home device, or a device of their own at home, they have no internet.

Some districts are hoping to close this digital equity gap by giving students take-home Wi-Fi hotspots with filtered, district-provided internet access. Kajeet‘s SmartSpot is one such example. Kajeet’s SmartSpots are filtered mobile hotspot devices designed to give students safe wireless internet connections. Kajeet partners with five major U.S. wireless networks to offer coverage.…Read More

3 tips for jumpstarting your district’s connectivity discussion

This year’s E-rate cycle may be over, but in order to be well prepared for the next one, now is the time to start the connectivity conversation with your school district. In today’s classrooms, high-speed internet is no longer an option; it has become a necessity.

Digital learning helps students grasp concepts more fully, and not having access to the wealth of information found in online videos, apps, and curriculum puts these students at an immediate disadvantage to their connected peers. As schools increasingly turn to digital learning, all classrooms must have reliable, fast internet connections in order to prepare students sufficiently for future challenges like college and the job market.

While dramatic progress has been made in closing the connectivity gap in our public schools, there are still 6.5 million K-12 students who lack access to high-speed classroom internet, leaving them unprepared or underprepared for the world’s digital expectations.…Read More

Getting started: Your E‑rate cheat sheet

It’s that time of year again–the federal E-rate program is getting underway, and with program updates and refreshes in recent years, you might need a primer on this year’s program.

The E-rate program helps schools and libraries access high-speed internet and telecommunications at prices that won’t break the bank.

At the end of 2014, the Federal Communications Commission voted to increase funding to the federal E-rate program by $1.5 billion. The vote brought the annual program cap from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion.…Read More

FCC approves $9 broadband subsidy for low-income households

Expansion of the Lifeline program will affect more than 13 million Americans

A recently-approved expansion of an FCC program will grant millions of low-income households a discount on internet access in an effort to help close what is becoming known as the digital divide — the lack of reliable high-speed internet access for lower income families.

FCC commissioners voted on the proposed expansion 3 to 2 along party lines, as expected. Eligible households (those at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty level) will now be able to apply the $9.25 subsidy to broadband, wireless, or a bundled voice and internet package. Previously, the program, called Lifeline, was only applicable to phone service.

According to the FCC, nearly all households with annual incomes of more than $150,000 currently have high-speed internet; by contrast, nearly half of those with incomes less than $25,000 claim the same.…Read More

Fastest net service in U.S. coming to Chattanooga

In the global race to see who can offer the fastest internet service, an unlikely challenger has emerged, reports the New York Times: Chattanooga, Tenn. The city-owned utility, EPB, plans to announce that by the end of this year it will offer ultra-high-speed internet service of up to one gigabit a second. That is 200 times faster than the average broadband speed in America. Only Hong Kong and a few other cities in the world offer such lightning-fast service, and analysts say Chattanooga will be the first in the United States to do so. “This makes Chattanooga—a midsized city in the South—one of the leading cities in the world in its digital capabilities,” said Ron Littlefield, the city’s mayor. There is one caveat: the highest-speed service will cost $350 a month, a price that might appeal to some businesses but few households, even though the service will be offered to all the 170,000 homes and businesses that EPB serves. “We don’t know how to price a gig,” said Harold DePriest, chief executive of EPB. “We’re experimenting. We’ll learn.”

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