This year President Obama renewed his commitment to improving education through enhanced technology with the announcement of ConnectEd, a 5 year program whose objective will be to increase the Internet speeds being delivered to 99% of America’s students, with a particular emphasis on those in rural areas. With less than 20% of educators saying that their school’s Internet connections are adequate, and millions of students across the country being denied access to any connection which supports interactive learning techniques, America has been jeopardizing its technological supremacy for many years by not addressing this problem. South Korea, in contrast, provides high-speed Internet to all of its schools, plans to phase out printed textbooks entirely by 2016, and has been reaping significant benefits from those and many similar improvements.
ConnectEd not only addresses Internet speeds, but invests in teacher education to assist them in using new technologies effectively. A wealth of interactive material will be made available to them to enhance their students’ learning experience and student assessments will be computerized in order to provide accurate and timely feedback on their progress. Online learning and social communities are planned to support educator interaction and resource sharing.
The private sector is being encouraged to participate by creating cost-effective alternatives to textbooks and new digital learning tools. In addition to the domestic educational benefits, a greater participation in the $1 trillion global educational marketplace will provide a much needed stimulus to the economy.
Several pilot programs were commissioned during the last three years to study the effectiveness of digitally enhanced education and the results were highly encouraging. The Mooresville School District of North Carolina, for example, distributed an Internet device to each student and taught grades 3-12 with a program modified to take advantage of the more personalized instruction afforded by those devices. In a standard battery of tests, their students rose from a proficiency level of 73% to 88% over the 3 year period.
A nation’s children are its most cherished treasure and their education is among the most important investments a nation can make in itself. ConnectED is about more than Internet speeds or improved teaching techniques. It is about the future of America and we applaud any initiative that serves to enhance that future. If your company has an educational product, or any other kind of product that requires a web presence, please contact us to discuss your hosting options.