As I look back on our time at ISTE, I’m reminded of an issue brought to my attention from teachers, administrators and IT personnel that had not crossed my mind in the past. The descriptions were a bit different, but the overall message remained the same: “It’s great to see edtech moving towards the cloud, but our school/district is just not there yet with the infrastructure to support such advantages.” The statement utters in my mind even weeks after the show.
A quick Google search revealed startling information. According to 2012 statistics, 63% of schools in the U.S. do not have enough bandwidth to meet the current needs for digital learning. That translates to more than 40 million students lacking sufficient internet access, especially in rural and urban schools. Last December, the Federal Communications Commission overwhelmingly approved a $1.5 billion funding increase for its E-Rate program, created to help schools gain access to technologies and high-speed internet. Overall spending by the FCC now totals nearly $4 billion annually in an effort to make sure the nation’s classrooms are not left behind as other countries invest heavily in broadband connections. As you can see by the chart
, the U.S. is making great strides to closing the connectivity gap and making the Internet accessible for future generations.