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Broadband Access: Is Your Child at a Disadvantage? (page 2)

Broadband Access: Is Your Child at a Disadvantage?

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Updated on Apr 19, 2010

“E-rate has been very successful in getting the majority of schools and libraries connected to the Internet in some fashion,” Gettman says. “And we’re looking forward to proactive regulatory action by the FCC to increase the availability of E-rate discounts for libraries and schools.”

The recommendations of the plan also include removing barriers to off-hours community use of E-rate funded resources, providing E-rate support for internal connections to more schools and libraries, and raising the cap on funding for E-rate each year to account for inflation.

The plan extends to beyond access, and encourages schools adopt digital literacy standards, curricula, and assessments. This is critical, Walker says, for students to compete on a global scale. And she says these digital skills need to be developed and nurtured in students as young as age five. “Most people think about older learners with informational and digital literacy, but this is something that should begin in kindergarten,” Walker says.

How and when will the Broadband Plan become a reality? According to Gettman, some of the plan recommendations can be implemented by the FCC through regulation. The FCC released an Action Agenda a few weeks ago, describing items to be completed before the end of the calendar year. Gettman says recommendations relating to E-Rate, such as raising the cap by indexing it to inflation, could happen soon. "Other recommendations must be enacted by Congress, and others must be implemented by other government agencies," Gettman says, "so there is not a single time frame for implementing all the recommendations, and it is difficult to predict how long they will take."

Take a look at the National Broadband Plan online to find out more details. Also of interest might be the AASL’s Landmark Websites for Teaching and Learning; your children can make good use of these websites at home with your broadband connection!

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