Why is in-school connectivity still important?

Washington D.C. (February 23, 2020) – Digital learning is no longer reserved for the most innovative and affluent school districts. It has become essential for the continuity of learning itself, and schools now have both the challenge and opportunity to pioneer a new path forward — one that will foster exciting, immersive learning opportunities for K-12 students everywhere, even after the pandemic has passed.  But this unprecedented level of technology integration will be completely dependent upon the availability of a robust internet connection. 

Prior to the pandemic, 81% of teachers said they strongly agree or agree they see great value in using digital learning tools in their classrooms.1And in 2019, 85% of teachers wanted to use more digital learning in the classroom.2Now, 93% of teachers reported that they were doing at least some online instruction, with 50% saying they were teaching online-only.3This dramatic shift in utilization supports the increased demand for better broadband in schools and at home. 

Prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year, 73% of district leaders and teachers believed that when school buildings reopened, access to better connectivity would make high-quality teaching and learning easier.4

We now know that the marked increase in digital learning during the national quarantine has had lasting effects, and district leaders all across the country focused on the ever-evolving demand for bandwidth as they entered this school year. 

As schools continue to implement hybrid and remote learning as a path back to return to in-classroom learning, it is evident that digital learning will increasingly play a significant role in every student’s educational journey at all grade levels. 

In 2020, the integration of digital teaching and learning has grown at a pace that has arguably exceeded that of bandwidth growth, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of devices that are expected to rely on school networks once in-person classes return will be dramatically higher, and the demand for more robust connectivity will only continue to increase. Districts meeting or exceeding the 1 Mbps per student goal are helping to ensure students and teachers are not inhibited by bottlenecks in capacity brought on by the influx of new devices.

ConnectK12.org is a free online portal that will equip state and school district leaders with powerful intelligence so that they can identify better internet pricing and negotiate cost-effective upgrades to meet the digital learning demand.

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About the Author: Emily Jordan, Vice President, Connect K-12, oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization’s Connect K-12 initiative. She manages external relationships with key stakeholders at the state and federal levels of government, including governors’ offices, education agency heads, and like-minded advocacy and membership organizations. Emily helps state education leaders and K-12 public school districts improve school connectivity and make progress toward the FCC’s 1 Mbps per student bandwidth goal. She also equips national, state, and local organizations with data to be effective advocates for the federal E-rate Program, the primary funding mechanism for school connectivity nationally.

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