President Obama is getting closer to his goal of providing technology access for 99 percent of U.S. students. Private-sector companies like Apple, AT&T, and Microsoft have committed more than $750 million in the ConnectEd initiative. It’s aimed to connect more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students by the end of 2015.
“I want you to know why it matters that we make sure technology is available to every child,” the president said. “Technology is not the entire answer, by the way, when it comes to educational excellence. We’ve got to make sure we’ve got outstanding teachers. We’ve got to make sure that parents are doing what they need to do. We need young people to make the effort and to have high expectations for themselves. But technology can help; it’s a tool, it’s just one more tool.”
When the initiative was announced in June 2013, Obama said that 20 percent of students had access to high–speed Wi-Fi compared with 100 percent of students in places like South Korea.
The donations will provide more than $750 in devices, software, and wireless service to U.S. students. The Federal Communications Commission said it would also spend $2 billion over two years to help boost technology services.
White House official Cecilia Munoz said that fewer than 30 percent of schools are equipped with broadband connectivity needed to stream video and access educational tools available on the Internet.
The ConnectED initiative will also lead to new resources for teachers with interactive demonstrations and the opportunity to collaborate with other educators across the country or world.
Does technology provide much-needed answers for how to keep the U.S. academically competitive on a global scale, or is it just another trend that doesn’t have an impact? Let us know what you think in the comments below.