SETDA released a report on broadband – The Broadband Imperative: Recommendations to address K-12 Education Infrastructure Needs – May 21. The report examines current trends driving the need for more broadband in teaching, learning and school operations; provides state and district examples of the impact of robust deployment of broadband; and offers specific recommendations for the broadband capacity needed to ensure all students have access to the tools and resources they need to college and career ready.
For those who have not yet gone to the Dick Tracy School of the Obvious, one of the key trends driving the need for broadband is the growing use of digital content in the classroom, with everything from plain text to photos to short instructional videos to video streaming not only being downloaded into classrooms, but also uploaded as more and more students create content as well as consume it. Schools must have abundant broadband in order to take advantage of this wealth of content. As Christine fox of SETDA noted at the press conference releasing the report, just as a teacher should not be afraid that turning the lights on in her classroom will dim the lights in other teachers' classrooms, so she should not worry about the impact internet use in her classroom may affect other rooms.
While we may be a little biased, the report is not only an excellent read, but also it is a courageous and important document. In praising the document at the press conference, Karen Cator said that the report provided both an important backdrop and context for broadband and went beyond what the National Broadband Plan and the National Educational Technology Plan did by creating clear goals for policymakers.
We can have all the digital content possible, but if it cannot get into schools and homes it is worth less than the electrical pulses it travels on.