Infrastructure

4 Recommendations for Closing Broadband Equity Gaps

4 Recommendations for Closing Broadband Equity Gaps

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and Education Networks of America (ENA) have released a new report examining the steps states are taking to close the gaps in wireless access between their schools and districts.

The report offers four recommendations for policy makers and school leaders:

  • Increase infrastructure to support student-centered learning;
  • Design infrastructure to meet capacity targets;
  • Ensure equity of access for all students outside of school; and
  • Leverage state resources to increase broadband access.

The report also looks at policy, planning, funding and management approaches to WiFi in Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina and Utah.

Before concluding, the report's authors offer a 10-point checklist of recommendations for broadband access planning:

  • Include WiFi in the planning process;
  • Establish a standard for what constitutes WiFi that is ready for digital learning;
  • Support a funding model;
  • Create guidelines for pricing and an approved vendor qualification form;
  • Share best practices and engineering expertise from vendors and other partners;
  • Foster a statewide professional learning community;
  • Engage the state legislature;
  • Monitor internal broadband growth and usage throughout the state;
  • Establish a team to help schools address the homework gap; and
  • Assist schools in planning and preparing for today and the future.

"States play a critical role in promoting the availability of equitable internal broadband access among their schools," the report's authors write in conclusion. "As the four case studies demonstrate, various approaches can be implemented by state leadership teams to assist the K–12 community with this critical issue. What’s important to remember is, while there are multiple pathways to providing students with high-quality WiFi in a sustainable and scalable manner, the ultimate focus should always remain on the teaching and learning."

The full report is available at setda.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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