The bar has moved. Access to high-speed broadband in K-12 education is no longer an afterthought; instead it is fundamental for implementing the student-centered learning models critical in preparing all students for college and careers in the digital age. Schools and districts are moving towards student-centered, personalized learning approaches to increase student success — utilizing digital applications to support these deeper learning experiences. High-speed broadband access enables schools to expand learning options, allowing students to create content, participate in virtual courses that may not be available on their campuses, and to collaborate with experts or other students remotely. Bandwidth capacity is required to support these digital age learning opportunities, and determines which digital instructional materials and educational applications students and educators can effectively leverage in the classroom.
In May 2012, SETDA’s groundbreaking report, The Broadband Imperative: Recommendations to Address K-12 Education Infrastructure Needs pushed educators and policy makers around the country to increase high-speed broadband access in schools—with specific recommendations regarding access, funding, and policies to support teaching and learning. In April 2016, SETDA and Common Sense Kids Action released the State K-12 Broadband Leadership: Driving Connectivity and Access report highlighting the powerful impact of state leadership in driving critical policy decisions at the national and state level to support broadband networks, bandwidth capacity and home access for low-income families. In this companion report, The Broadband Imperative II: Equitable Access for Learning SETDA continues to advocate for increasing robust access both in and out of school to best prepare all students for college and careers. SETDA provides the following updated recommendations for policy makers and school leaders:
- Increase Infrastructure to Support Student-Centered Learning
- Design Infrastructure to Meet Capacity Targets
- Ensure Equity of Access for All Students Outside of School
- Leverage State Resources to Increase Broadband Access