We often hear how increasing broadband speeds is vital to improve employment prospects and economies around the world. There are numerous reports about how greater Internet speeds help trigger advancements in healthcare. And now the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released a report on the “need for speed” to bolster education.
The Broadband Imperative report recommends that schools increase their broadband speeds to 1 Gbps per 1,000 students and staff by 2017-18. It further suggests that internal WANs connecting schools within districts should be 1 Gbps by 2014-15 and 10 Gbps by 2017-18.
According to the most recent U.S. Department of Education study of educational technology in public schools, even though 100 percent of the school districts with a district network were connected to the Internet, very few had high-speed connections. The SETDA report indicates that nearly 80 percent of schools say their current broadband connections are unable to meet their needs, and about 67 percent of schools subscribe to Internet service at half the speed that SETDA recommends.
As learning in the classroom takes on the form of online discussion boards, classroom wikis and video chats, the need for speed has grown. Additionally, there is a heightened responsibility in ensuring networks are able to support this growth and meet the demands of learners.
Communities around the globe are demonstrating their leadership on how to use Internet technology to help advance education. For example, Advanced Broadband Enabled Learning is a Canadian project that uses videoconferencing in schools as an educational resource. It is also used for students to talk to other schools and collaborate on issues. In the Middle East, the Initiative for Smart Learning was launched to improve technology in all UAE schools. It aims to create a new learning environment in schools by offering ‘smart classes’ and providing pupils with a tablet PC and 4G Internet access. In Nepal, Open Learning Exchange Nepal introduced E-Pustakalaya, an education-centered electronic library that can be accessed from the Internet. It includes reference materials, teaching support materials and other coursework that can be shared among students, teachers and families in different locations.
So, what’s our role in this? JDSU works with service providers around the globe to deliver reliable, high-speed broadband services. Our network solutions help ensure that networks are up and running so that communities have access when they need it.
As SETDA notes in its report, “to compete globally and develop the innovators our country needs to lead the world, all of our students must have access to adequate bandwidth in the classroom…wherever learning takes place.” We couldn’t agree more.