The majority of our nation’s “schools do not have the capacity to offer high-definition streaming video.” The biggest challenge today is not connection, it’s capacity in the classrooms. Without adequate broadband capacity in the classrooms, students are going to fall behind and sentenced to a lifetime of second class citizens and inequality.
Our learning culture has dramatically transformed. Born into a 21st century world, today’s children are digital natives. They use digital media to learn, socialize, and share information.
Data after data continues to reveal that technology can improve learning outcome for children and make education relevant to the 21st century. In a co-authored piece titled Learners at the Center of a Networked World, actress Rosario Dawson succinctly noted “technology has the power to accelerate learning and make education more exciting and engaging.” Indeed, “technology is changing every aspect of our lives and learning should be no exception.”
However, a significant number of our nation’s schools lack the adequate speeds and capacity for their students to experience the benefits education technology has to offer.
Without adequate broadband capacity in the classrooms, students are going to fall further and further behind.
Minority communities already lag behind in so many measures. One third of Americans do not subscribe to broadband of any speed. FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel has emphasized that for Latinos, that number is even greater with “nearly half lacking access to broadband at home.”
Many Latinos do not see the relevance of broadband adoption and are not aware of the abundant opportunities our digital ecosystem has to offer. We need to change that. Broadband is the catalyst for economic growth and job creation.
Our minority talent will be poised to revolutionize the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs but first, our education system needs to provide the tools early on to make it happen.
We echo Rosenworcel’s sentiment that transforming our schools from inadequate bandwidth to proper speeds must be a national priority. This would help schools make personalize instruction available for every student and improve student achievement. It would also expand opportunities for digital learning, STEM, and abundant options for students and families to access bilingual digital alternatives.
If we want to prepare students to compete globally and bring a more diverse community into the innovation economy, we need to support broadband for students in schools, homes, and libraries.We need to bring our nation’s schools to the 21st century.