In November 2014, President Obama addressed school bandwidth issues during the inaugural Superintendents Summit on digital learning and future readiness. At the summit, President Obama stated, “Right now, fewer than 40 percent of public schools have high-speed Internet in their classrooms; less than half. It means that in most American schools, teachers cannot use the cutting-edge software and programs that are available today. They literally don’t have the bandwidth” (The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 2014). In 2014, President Obama unveiled the ConnectED Initiative (ConnectED). At the unveiling, President Obama stated that many schools have the same bandwidth as an average American home but with many more users.
ConnectED sets four clear goals (upgraded connectivity, leveling the playing field for rural students, training teachers, and availability to new resources for teachers) to transition to digital learning across the country in five years as originally outlined in the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) (United States, Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, 2014). NETP represented a model of learning powered by technology, which asserted a crucial element for learning is an adequate broadband network infrastructure, including wireless coverage. According to NETP (2014), adequate means enough bandwidth to support simultaneous use by all teachers and students to engage routinely on the Internet, multimedia, and collaboration software (United States Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, 2014).
In November 2014 at the first-ever national superintendent’s summit, President Obama greeted over 100 representative superintendents to the White House (The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 2014). The White House selected superintendents who were recognized for their leadership in helping transition their districts to digital learning. The superintendents who attended the summit represented model schools and districts across the country using technology to create personalized learning environments in which technology will play an increasingly vital role (The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 2014). ConnectED, an initiative from the federal government, superintendent involvement in transitioning their districts to digital learning, high stakes online standardized assessments, and private sector involvement are shaping the environment where the school network is a more critical component in technology integration than ever before (Davis, 2013; Greaves et al., 2012).
Technology is a valuable resource for educators in the planning and teaching of the curriculum in classroom settings. However, limitations of school networks and the reliability of the networks can have an impact on the integration of technology by teachers. School administrators who understand and address teachers’ concerns may enable more and better technology integration. In this way, schools and districts can ensure that teachers have the resources they need to give students their best chances for success.
Davies, M. R. (2013, February 6). The new ed-tech leader models by digital example. Education Week. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2013/02/06/02leaders.h06.html
Greaves, T. (2012, January). Revolutionizing education through technology. Retrieved March 14, 2015, from https://www.iste.org/resources/product?ID=2442
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. (2014, February 4). Remarks by the president on connected.Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/04/remarks-president-connected
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. (2014, November 14). Remarks by the president at connected superintendents’ summit. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/19/remarks-president-connected-superintendents-summit
United States, Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (2014). Transforming American education: Learning powered by technology : National Education Technology Plan 2010. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Educational Technology.