In today’s world, technology has changed and, for the most part, improved the way we do everything from shopping to connecting with friends and family to managing our finances and our healthcare. But for a number of reasons, technology has not yet transformed the way our students learn on a day-to-day basis — at least not on a broad scale. Of course, there are many exciting examples across the country of schools and districts that have harnessed the power of technology to improve student learning, but these are not yet the norm.
One of the main barriers standing in the way is a lack of modern technology infrastructure in our schools that can support exciting and innovative digital-learning opportunities. (Although nearly every classroom in the country has basic Internet connectivity, the majority do not have fast enough bandwidth speeds to support their current needs.) This is why, as part of his ConnectED initiative, President Obama challenged the Federal Communications Commission to modernize the existing E-Rate program to upgrade our schools’ technology infrastructure to support ultrafast broadband speeds.
Last week, the FCC answered the president’s challenge by adopting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to modernize the E-Rate program. This is a critical step on the path to upgrade our nation’s education technology infrastructure, and a wide variety of organizations, stakeholders, and advocates have publicly voiced their support for the FCC’s action. Click here to read more about the broadening coalition supporting the ConnectED vision.
Sujeet Rao is a special assistant in the Office of Innovation and Improvement.