Recommendation - 4.1

Recommendation - 4.1

All learners will have engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and outside of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society.
To meet this goal, we recommend the following action:

4.1 Recommendation: Ensure that students and educators have adequate broadband access to the Internet and adequate wireless connectivity both inside and outside school.

Students and educators need adequate performance in accessing the Internet and technology-based learning resources. Adequate means enough bandwidth to support simultaneous use of the web, multimedia, communication and collaboration environments, and communities from anywhere in school buildings, on the surrounding campus, and from locations throughout the community and at home. Critical to providing universal access for learning are the broadband initiatives being individually and jointly managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Schools and districts should have up-to-date tools for network analysis to ensure adequate access as usage increases.

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Sadly, efforts to ensure that all students have access to the Internet, and at acceptable speeds, is left to the individual districts and their resources. Some progress has been made in consolidating and cooperation of services through ISDs purchasing large amounts of bandwidth and then passing savings onto districts they serve, but some districts still rely on large telecommunications firms, and have to pay for the laying of their own fiber optic lines. Perhaps as WI-Max and other long distance wireless internet technologies become available, schools will be able to be better served, or perhaps be able to service their communities with school-provided wireless access.