Yes, there Still is a Digital Divide, and a Broadband Problem , There Should Be a National Consideration of Digital Equity

Future Learning

Wireless shows the way to the future ways of learning
if we can conquer the digital divide.

Bonnie Bracey-Sutton

I was the only K-12 teacher on the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council. I have been waiting years for transformational change to happen.We still have need, lack of access, and a broadband problem.

Let’s start with this set of charts.  Source (http://mashable.com/2013/06/14/digital-divide-problem/)

I have been researching and working with these issue for a long time.

Take a look at this info-graphic. (http://mashable.com/2012/02/05/digital-divide-infographic/)

Early exposure and interest

Early exposure and interest are key!

Recently people talked to me and said, you know, people are tired of hearing about the digital divide, and broadband access, it is boring.Why don’t you do something that is more interesting!( It was depressing to hear) But recently the White House, and other reports confirm the concerns that I had about the  two Americas we have in technology. Most people with the technology went their merry way , not remembering that many had neither the tools, technology or knowledge to make the change we want for 21st century learning. see this report from NTIA.

RESEARCH PROOF

Here’s a bit of disappointing but not-so-surprising news: according to a new report from the nonprofit think tank Center for American Progress (CAP), U.S. schools aren’t doing enough to enable technology in the classroom to live up to its potential.

Oh really? Oh really…

Not only are students across the country frequently using technology for basic skills (for example, middle school students are mostly using computers for drills and practice exercises, not data analysis or other activities that really take advantage of computing power and sophisticated software), schools aren’t looking at the returns on their technology-related investments. The CAP also found that students from high-poverty areas were less likely to get access to rigorous science and technology learning opportunities.

“In this analysis, it quickly became clear to us that many schools and districts have not taken full advantage of the ways that technology can be used to dramatically improve education-delivery systems,” the report said.

The White House

The White House’s new broadband report is embedded below. What can be done to bridge the digital divide? Share your thoughts in the comments.

White House Broadband Report

( This is a document that can be downloaded )

This isn’t about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America tothe digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.”
– President Obama

 ” Committing to high-speed connectivity for all our students in five years will unleash the potential of the education technology market, where a lack of infrastructure has held back innovation.”

In June , the White House announced an initiative  to expand high-speed broadband Internet access to virtually every school in the country. The program is expected to cost several billion dollars; according to a senior administration official. The White House argues that the expanded Internet access will provide teachers with more tools; make learning more engaging and better prepare students for 21st century jobs. The plan does not require congressional approval. Instead; an existing program that subsidizes Internet access in schools and libraries. E-Rate is funded through fees on monthly telephone bills. The White House officials said officials expect the president’s plan would add no more than 40 cents to every phone bill per month for the next few years. The proposal would be a one-time investment with the goal of providing schools with Internet connections of one gigabit per second—about 100 times faster than the average home broadband connection. The White House expects 99 percent of students to have access to at least a 100-megabit-per-second connection within five years. The administration notes that many schools currently rely on a single slow connection for hundreds of students and teachers. The officials argue that next-generation Internet speeds will allow students to download up-to-date learning materials.

The announcement was a relief to me , it signified that official Washington understood that the new initiatives based on technology, digital textbooks and common core , and other STEM initiatives are not possible without new infrastructure.

Richard Bennett in a recent article states that

“The major causes for low subscribership, as extensive survey research shows, are low interest in the Internet and minimal digital literacy. And too many American households lack the money or interest to buy a computer. As a result, more Americans subscribe to cable TV and cellphones than to Internet service. Our broadband subscription rate is 70 percent, but could easily surpass 90 percent if computer ownership and digital literacy were widespread.”

Indeed, the most critical issue facing American broadband has nothing to do with the quality of our networks; it is our relatively low rates of subscribership.

What ever the reason. There is digital inequality in the US. Mr. Bennet may not work or travel in rural and distant areas. I assume that he has no real experience with the schools in these areas.

White House Initiative

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/06/06/bringing-america-s-students-digital-ageImage“In this analysis, it quickly became clear to us that many schools and districts have not taken full advantage of the ways that technology can be used to dramatically improve education-delivery systems,” the report said.

What ever the reason. There is digital inequality in the US. Mr. Bennet may not work or travel in rural and distant areas. I assume that he has no real experience with the schools in these areas. There are some efforts kind of complicated to get people comfortable with being on line.

Google also sees the problem and this is one of their solutions.

Most of you might have heard of Google's new global Internet access 
experiment - Project Loon. 

See http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2420540,00.asp 

Check out the beautifully done motion graphics video at 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m96tYpEk1Ao

Read More about the Digital Divide and STEM here.
http://www.scoop.it/t/broadband-and-connectivity-in-america
http://www.scoop.it/t/broadband-and-connectivity-in-america

Transforming the World of Education with Technology.. Starting Points and Resources

Future  Learning

Wireless shows the way to the future ways of learning
if we can conquer the digital divide.

My friend Mano works in areas of need in rural Virginia. There are lots of us who have the aptitude to teach students. Permission is something else.

My friend Mano works in areas of need in rural Virginia. There are lots of us who have the aptitude to teach students. Permission is something else.

Tpack-contexts

There is the content divide, teachers can learn to master information on the web. Here is where to start. You will love learning the Tpack Framework. It seems complicated? Not. It is an ideational scaffolding for teaching and learning. It works and , it is free. Tpack.

http://tpack.org/

A problem that is a dividing factor for many people is the lack of access. Broadband access is a problem and the tools to use technology are a problem.

All classrooms do not look like the schema above. For one thing teachers using technology often are in an active classroom. Not a lot of sitting down happens.

Or the classroom may be a flipped classroom. In case you need a good example here is one from Edutopia.http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flip-stem-classroom-ainissa-ramirez and all flipped classrooms do not look alike.

To see how technology transforms or changes view some of the projects in the Digital Generation. The digital generation has a great introduction and then it broadens engagement from gamers to students interested in making change in their community. I love the story of Luiz.

           Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say

Nancy Palmieri for The New York Times

Lisa Baldwin, a chemistry teacher, works with her students to fight through academic challenges.

By 

There is a widespread belief among some  teachers that students’ constant use of digital technology is hampering their attention spans and ability to persevere in the face of challenging tasks, according to two surveys of teachers released in November and confirmed in December reports. But then there is this. Digital Generation

Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Hope Molina-Porter, an English teacher in Fullerton, Calif., worries that technology is deeply altering how students learn.

The researchers note that their findings represent the subjective views of teachers and should not be seen as definitive proof that widespread use of computers, phones and video games affects students’ capability to focus.

Even so, the researchers who performed the studies, as well as scholars who study technology’s impact on behavior and the brain, say the studies are significant because of the vantage points of teachers, who spend hours a day observing students.

The timing of the studies, from two well-regarded research organizations, appears to be coincidental.

You can find the rest of the article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/education/technology-is-changing-how-students-learn-teachers-say.html?smid=fb-share

Broadband? Here is a perspective on broadband from the FCC

Where are you on the map?

                       THE CONSENSUS UNDERSTANDING OF THE FCC’S ROLE WITH RESPECT TO BROADBAND

A challenge for the FCC in recent years has been how to apply the time-honored purposes of the Communications Act to our 21st Century communications platform—broadband Internet—access to which is generally provided by the same companies that provide telephone and cable television services.

Broadband is increasingly essential to the daily life of every American. It is fast becoming the primary way we as Americans connect with one another, do business, educate ourselves and our children, receive health care information and services, and express our opinions. As a unanimous FCC said a few weeks ago in our Joint Statement on Broadband, “Working to make sure that America has world-leading high-speed broadband networks—both wired and wireless—lies at the very core of the FCC’s mission in the 21st Century.”

Over the past decade and a half, a broad consensus in the public and private sectors has developed about the proper role and authority for the FCC regarding broadband communications. This bipartisan consensus, which I support, holds that the FCC should adopt a restrained approach to broadband communications, one carefully balanced to unleash investment and innovation while also protecting and empowering consumers.

It is widely understood—and I am of the view—that the extreme alternatives to this light-touch approach are unacceptable. Heavy-handed prescriptive regulation can chill investment and innovation, and a do-nothing approach can leave consumers unprotected and competition unpromoted, which itself would ultimately lead to reduced investment and innovation.

The consensus view reflects the nature of the Internet itself as well as the market for access to our broadband networks. One of the Internet’s greatest strengths—its unprecedented power to foster technological, economic, and social innovation—stems in significant part from the absence of any central controlling authority, either public or private. The FCC’s role, therefore should not involve regulating the Internet itself.

Want to measure your broadband   http://www.speedtest.net. it is easy..

Google’s Coolest Project? Broadband

By QUENTIN HARDY
A sign in Kansas City encouraged residents to pre-register for Google Fiber.Steve Hebert for The New York TimesA sign in Kansas City encouraged residents to pre-register for Google Fiber.
  • FACEBOOKAccording to Eric Schmidt, Google‘s executive chairman, the most interesting project going on at the search giant is its high-speed broadband trials in Kansas City. (Missouri and Kansas versions)

The business, called Google Fiber, promises speeds 100 times faster than conventional high-speed Internet services. Mr. Schmidt, who was speaking at a New York Times Dealbook conference in New York, said Google was delivering 760 megabits per second to the customer, and taking 720 megabits a second from customers.

Some of our have robust broadband and others of us do not. There are tools that are used to measure broadband, that are national , and some are international.

You can measure broadband  in your community and then go raise a ruckus if it is not adequate with this tool.

     I Like this quote I dislike this quote“For the last decade, we have been amazed and delighted by what we can do online. And yet people feel increasingly powerless to stop unscrupulous individuals and companies from infecting their computers with programs that they didn’t request. The providers of Internet services and software simply must get this problem under control so the users can realize the full potential of their access to the Internet.”
 Vint Cerf quote

The use of broadband in the area of education is deep and wide, but still in its earliest stages of development. In the pre-broadband era – about 15 years ago – “distance learning” was generally conducted on a set schedule in a professional facility with the capability of satellite video to a small group able to pay a high fee.

With the wide availability of broadband this definition has been turned 180 degrees. Today an individual student can see a lecture at a time and place which best fits his or her schedule at little or no cost. Not only does broadband provide better access to coursework, but students taking those courses appear to do better than those sitting in a traditional classroom.

Broadband permits a wide variety of online learning experiences. Students can be directed to websites different from the course website. There they can stream a video or examine a famous painting; they can have an online chat with their teacher or professor; or students studying the same coursework can come together in learning communities in real time without regard to their physical geographic location. These “virtual study groups” have not been possible before the general availability of broadband.

Of greatest interest is the acceptance of adults to taking courses on-line. According to Philip R. Regier, the dean of Arizona State University’s Online and Extended Campus program, growth will be in continuing education programs In three to five years, he estimates, the current census of 5,000 continuing education students “could triple, with nearly all the growth coming online.” The use of broadband as students’ “in-home tutor” is well-documented. The ability to search the world’s libraries from a student’s home has had an enormous impact on the quality and depth of the educational experience for serious students.

Teachers who have had to use the traditional red pen to correct and edit papers and reports, can now use their computers to “track changes” and send the work back to students (and their parents) via e-mail for their review.

If education is the foundation of society, then broadband is quickly becoming the mortar which binds and strengthens that foundation.

Got Milk? Got Broadband? Then you can learn to transform using whatever tools that are  available to you with also some really good face to face , or mentoring examples.

In many urban, distant and rural communities there is a lack of the technology tools, broadband and teachers who know how to use the technology, but once we get connectivity many free resources, ideas, and projects are on line. You need the time to explore, examine, extricate the ideas for your use, learn to evaluate and to engage using your ideas and the prescribed curriculum that you deal with. There are many , many teacher groups that provide lesson plan examples and ideas.