Providing high-speed internet connectivity to schools is an essential element to creating 21st century learning opportunities. OET, in support of the President’s ConnectED Initiative is working to help schools get connected to broadband internet in all locations where learning is taking place. From the President’s Broadband Opportunity Council to the modernization of E-rate, a number of initiatives are underway to meet the ConnectED goals.
Federal Funding Dear Colleague Letter
Formula grants (ESEA Title I, II, III, IDEA, etc.) can be used to fund the transition to digital learning. This letter details some approaches districts and schools might consider in using these funds in support of using digital tools to support learning and teaching.
Fostering and Leading a Culture of Digital Learning
Future Ready Schools
The Future Ready Pledge recognizes the importance of building human capacity within schools and districts for effectively using increased connectivity and new devices to transform teaching and learning.
Future Ready Leaders
As a result of a detailed research synthesis, the Future Ready Leaders project has identified four key focus areas for districts interested in making a successful transition to the effective use of digital tools to support learning. One of those focus areas – Robust Infrastructure – is largely dependent on high-speed broadband connectivity. Users of Future Ready Leaders have access to a playlist of 50 brief videos from 8 site visits to districts leading the way in making equitable connectivity a reality.
Technology infrastructure decisions should be academic decisions driven by a district or school’s strategic vision of success. This guide provides practical, actionable information intended to help district leaders (superintendents, principals, and teacher leaders) navigate the many decisions required to deliver cutting-edge connectivity to students.
In December of 2014, the the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its second E-rate modernization order. Together with a similar July 2014 order, this action represented the largest overhaul of the E-rate program in its 18-year history and increased the annual E-rate funding cap to $3.9 billion to dramatically expand high-speed Internet connectivity for America’s schools and libraries — moving toward the ConnectED goal of connecting 99% of the nation’s students to high-speed broadband.
Schools and libraries interested in more information about E-rate should visit the website of the Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers E-rate, for more information.
ConnectED Private Sector Commitments
Over $2 billion of private sector commitments have been made in support of the ConnectED Initiative. Companies are providing software, hardware, connectivity, and digital media to support the transition to digital learning. Learn more about the ConnectED Initiative private sector commitments.
Broadband Opportunity Council
President Obama on March 23, 2015 signed a Presidential Memorandum creating the Broadband Opportunity Council (Council) and appointing the Commerce and Agriculture Departments as co-chairs. The Broadband Opportunity Council includes 25 federal agencies and departments engaging with industry and other stakeholders to understand ways the Executive Branch can better support the needs of communities seeking broadband investment. It also helps identify regulatory barriers unduly impeding broadband deployment, adoption or competition, and recommends steps to remove such barriers. April 28, 2015, the Council issued a Request for Comment seeking public input to inform the deliberations of the Council and posted all comments received. On September 21, 2015 the White House released the Council’s report which includes action items and milestones for each agency. The Council continues its work to monitor implementation of the action items and to explore additional steps that can be taken to remove barriers to broadband deployment and adoption.