President Obama Announces ConnectEd

6 Jun 2013

Today in Moorseville North Carolina, President Obama launched the ConnectEd initiative, something the edtech community has been advocating for several years. This is one of the first steps to building high-speed digital connections to schools and libraries across the nation. With this initiative, the President is calling upon the Federal Communications Commission to assist in ensuring that 99% of American students can benefit from these advances, get technology into classrooms and prepare our teachers with training and support.
Moorseville Graded School District has been actively working to bring technology to the classroom, which was highlighted the Digital Learning Now! Smart Series paper, Funding the Shift to Digital Learning. Superintendent Mark Edwards explained that deploying a successful 1:1 program starts with culture. Now each teacher and new hire is paired with a Tech Facilitator to focus on the needs of the students and teachers from the very beginning. This infographic explains how Mooresville along with many other school districts are funding student access to digital learning devices.
Using Moorseville as a platform, President Obama plans to use existing federal funding to boost teacher’s skills in using classroom technology as noted by EdWeek. The White House is hosting a Google+ hangout on the ConnectEd moderated by Betsy Cocoran of Edsurge including three other schools around the country. To catch the President’s remarks and further agenda on this issue see their blog Bringing America’s Students into the Digital Age.
Below is the press release and here is the fact sheet from the White House with more information.

President Obama Unveils ConnectED Initiative to Bring America’s Students into Digital Age

Calls on FCC to leverage E-Rate program to have 99 percent of students connected within 5 years

WASHINGTON, DC — President Obama today unveiled a bold, new initiative called ConnectED to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within 5 years, calling on the FCC to modernize and leverage its existing E-Rate program to meet that goal. The President also directed the federal government to make better use of existing funds to get Internet connectivity and educational technology into classrooms, and into the hands of teachers trained on its advantages.  And he called on businesses, states, districts, schools and communities to support this vision. This ambitious initiative does not require Congressional action.
“We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology,” said President Obama. “So today, I’m issuing a new challenge for America – one that families, businesses, school districts and the federal government can rally around together – to connect virtually every student in America’s classrooms to high-speed broadband internet within five years, and equip them with the tools to make the most of it.”
Preparing America’s students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with countries around the world will rely increasingly on interactive, individualized learning experiences driven by new technology. But today, millions of students lack high-speed broadband access and fewer than 20 percent of educators say their school’s Internet connection meets their teaching needs. ConnectED will bring high-speed Internet within their reach, with a particular benefit for rural communities that have lagged behind in connectivity.
In addition to connecting America’s students, ConnectED harnesses the ingenuity of the American private sector get new technologies into students’ hands and support digital learning content.
ConnectED also better invests existing federal funds to ensure that every educator in America receives support and training in using education technology tools to improve student learning. For more details on the ConnectED initiative, click HERE.
The ambitious new vision for digital, connected learning builds on work the Administration has done over the past four years to increase broadband access across the country.

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