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Education Technology News: National Broadband Map Reveals Digital Divide in Schools
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Education Featured Article

February 28, 2011

National Broadband Map Reveals Digital Divide in Schools

By Mini Swamy, TMCnet Contributor


The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, NTIA, has released the first National Broadband Map in the country, a search tool that searches, analyzes and maps broadband availability across the country. This has been created and maintained by NTIA in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission.


Data released by the NTIA shows that Internet connection in educational institutions lack the level of broadband connectivity. Although virtually all schools are connected to the Internet, the speed of connection is inadequate to meet the education goals. The findings are particularly relevant for federal and state policy makers.

A press release based on studies by state education technology directors, released by NTIA, revealed that while most schools need a connection of 50 to 100 mbps per 1,000 students, data showed that almost two-thirds of those surveyed subscribed to a speed less than 25 mbps.

Douglas Levin, executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association, SETDA, said in a statement that ensuring high-speed broadband access for all students was a critical national issue and formed the basis of realizing educational reform and improvement goals.

He further added that this fact gained more significance in rural and remote areas where opportunities for a wider variety of courses, especially in science, were fewer. Students need access to rich educational tools and resources, teachers need it for professional development and to engage in professional learning communities, and administrators need it to for effective decision making.

Levin emphasized the point that without continued and direct investment in broadband and educational technologies, it is meaningless to ask schools to improve, innovate and compete. He looked forward to working with Congress and administration to ensure that all students could graduate fully prepared for college and 21st Century careers.

The SETDA report cited by NTIA is entitled “High-Speed Broadband Access for All Kids: Breaking through the Barriers,” and is available online at the Website. SETDA is the national member association that represents the interests of educational technology in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


Mini Swamy is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf


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