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Helping Close the Connectivity Gap in the Classroom

Bowling Green, KY. (August 14, 2019) - President Herbert Hoover is famous for saying, “Children are our most valuable natural resource." If we can agree this is true, then it only makes sense that we should invest in children and particularly in rural and underserved communities where the lack of access to broadband and technology could have an exponential impact on the viability of communities and the quality of life these children can expect.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students spend an average of 6.64 hours in school around 180 days every year. Generally, we expect that students have the things they need when they get to school. However, schools all over the country still struggle to provide adequate broadband access and the technology required to teach our children.

Federal programs like e-Rate, in conjunction with schools and broadband providers, are working to provide greater internet access in schools and libraries. [Image Removed]However, having the technology or tools necessary to access and make the most of broadband access is something that is often overlooked.

It’s easy to see how much technology is changing the landscape in schools, yet it’s not uncommon to walk into a classroom and find that students don't have even the basic tools they need. No computers or tablets, or maybe just one or two, and the list goes on. That’s where local support for schools can have an impact, as well as organizations like

The site is opening the door for teachers to request the funding of various classroom needs, and according to the DonorsChoose blog, there was a 53 percent increase in projects from rural areas in 2018 from the previous year. The blog also notes that while books are still the most requested resource, computer science and coding projects have grown 2.5 times faster than any other project type.

While DonorsChoose allows for a project to be funded by lots of people making small donations, it’s not uncommon for substantial contributions to be made. On March 26, 2018, a $29 million donation was made to fund every active project on the site, and the program has continued to support more and more projects at higher donation levels year after year.

“The site and the people who fund projects enable my students to have access to technology and resources that simply wouldn’t be possible through any other means.” Melody Kerr, first-grade teacher. 

Through a unique application of technology, DonnorsChoose is opening the door to schools all over the country to have the resources children need from textbooks and chairs to computers and 3D printers.

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DonorsChoose is just one example of an organization that is having an impact in rural and underserved communities. While not strictly focused on such communities, the service and assistance that comes from DonorsChoose is offering a vehicle for rural and underserved schools to remain competitive in our current and future economies.

Take a moment and visit and see how you can help a project of interest or a classroom near you. You may help a teacher, classroom, or child in ways you never imagined possible.

About the Author: Wes Kerr is the Director of Community Solutions for Connected Nation. Wes helps ensure the implementation of Technology Action Plans developed for communities through Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program (Connectedsm) and works closely with clients and stakeholders to provide solutions that will help them meet their technology goals.