For nearly 20 years, schools in the United States have spent more than $30B upgrading their network infrastructure to bring the internet into the classroom, utilizing funds from the E-Rate program. At schools that have built out the Optimized Digital Classroom, through the utilization of mobile devices, students now have access to anytime/anywhere learning, collaboration between peers and devices, and access to online resources. Schools across the nation are implementing 1:1 and Bring Your Own Device Initiatives to enable personalized and collaborative learning; and the results are positive. One such school system is Ledyard Public Schools, who recently modernized their network with Aruba Gigabit Wi-Fi + wired network solution; for the full story, click here .
While the E-Rate program has been successful in building out the network to support 21st Century Learning in schools, a digital divide, known as the Homework Gap, has been inadvertently created when students leave the campus. While most students have access to high-speed broadband internet access at school, many don't have internet access at home. This gap in connectivity creates a serious disconnect that can have grave consequences on a student’s grades; Although about one in three households does not have broadband service at home, up to 70% of the homework assignments given to students require internet access.
To address this Homework Gap the FCC, on Thursday, March 31st, voted to modernize the Lifeline program. The adopted Order allows Lifeline subscribers to receive stand-alone broadband service, as well as bundled voice and data service packages. This means that parents of students that do not currently have broadband access at home due to financial constraints can begin receiving Lifeline support to help offset the costs of getting broadband internet at home. This action will help connect the five million households with school-aged children that currently do not have broadband in the home.
Closing this Homework Gap will help students take full advantage of the learning transformation that is happening all over the world. As classrooms evolve into mobile-first learning environments, IT professionals need to plan for the future and build next-generation networks that support these digital learning environments and emerging technologies. To learn how Aruba can help, download Aruba’s Education Solution Overview.
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