By Lauren Hightower, Manager Policy & Research Communications
As part of our back-to-school blog series featuring stories about education and broadband, today we will highlight Connected Nation’s efforts to identify access and connectivity to the Internet at schools.
Seventy miles past Ely, Nevada, there is a one-room schoolhouse called Duckwater School. Nestled between farmland and an Indian reservation, the K-8 school appears to be old-fashioned. But on any given day, Duckwater students are taking an online quiz at their desktop computer, school board members are attending a school board meeting via videoconference, and Lyn Huston, the teacher at Duckwater School, is teaching with a document camera that projects a view onto a screen.
“When I started working at Duckwater School I started learning how to draw cartoon characters to help me illustrate words for the students,” Huston stated. Today, Huston relies on technology to teach. She recalls a teaching moment when she was trying to convey to her Spanish-speaking students what the word avalanche meant. Huston turned to the Internet and brought up a video of an avalanche. It was an “ah ha” moment for the students Huston said. “Technology allows my students to have access to the same resources that any other student at any other school has access to.”
This is a clear example of how broadband connectivity at schools is changing teaching methods and is enhancing the learning experience for students across the country. Connected Nation wants to ensure that gaps in connectivity at schools are identified and successes such as those at Duckwater School are shared.
Connected Nation is gathering information on school connectivity through an online survey process and partnerships with statewide associations across 11 states and 1 territory: Alaska, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
This data gathering process is part of the United States Department of Commerce’s State Broadband Data & Development Grant Program through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. All data that is gathered as part of this process is submitted for inclusion on the National Broadband Map.
Both nationally and at the state level there is significant value to capturing connectivity data for schools. Having this information available on the National Broadband Map will better equip state and local leaders, providers and educators with essential information and data that will assist with directing future broadband efforts.
Additionally Connected Nation is highlighting stories of both success and of need in newsletters that are being distributed across these states. Duckwater School was highlighted in the first issue of Connect Nevada’s newsletter which was recently released and shared with schools and other institutions across the state.
Connected Nation invites all schools, libraries, hospitals and public safety institutions to participate in our Community Anchor Institution surveys. Please contact Lauren Hightower at [email protected] for a survey password and visit the websites below:
Connect Puerto Rico
Connect South Carolina
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