Thursday, July 13, 2006

Broadband in Education

Today, Tadge and I had the opportunity to meet and present with superintendents from ONC BOCES districts on broadband connectivity in education. There was a lot of dialogue and great questions asked throughout the three hour session. We shared examples of what districts within the Monroe #1 BOCES broadband wide area network are doing to improve and enhance learning. We'd like to thank the superintendents for the engaging conversation and their open minds as they look to provide quality tools and service for their teachers and, ultimately, the students.

One big question that came up was what are the next steps to incorporate technologies through broadband? What do you think?

Click on Comments below to add your thoughts.


At 7/17/2006 2:01 PM, Blogger Donna said...

Wow Brain – that sounds like a fascinating session! It seems more and more education is dealing with the “access divide.” I think with the movement towards handhelds and portable devices there will be an increased demand for wireless broadband connections at schools.

Working in Distance Education, I am of course, a big supporter of broadband technology. As schools become more and more 24/7 in operations it becomes even more important. High broadband connections are crucial to classroom videoconferencing (even more so for desktop videoconferencing) and connecting our students with each other around the region, state and world! Utilizing shared whiteboards and learning spaces provides students (and teachers) to collaborate with fellow students (teachers) around the world. Online content from museums, the Library of Congress, C-Span, Cable in the Classroom, NASA, etc. creates broadband necessity.

Virtual environments like Second Life; Tapped In and simSchool are requiring broadband access. As gaming in education increases the use of multimedia and multi-user virtual environments will increase demands for broadband and bandwidth in schools.

I also think broadband provides increased access to content for all students. Streaming videos and books allow student with visual impairments access content. Online chats and discussion groups put speech impaired students on level playing ground with their non-impaired classmates.

As for the next steps for integrating broadband – I think we need to learn from our mistakes when we initially began adding technology into classrooms. It is not about the technology – it is about opportunity. Computers and broadband will not teach our students; rather they are tools for increasing learning opportunities. I also think educators have realized that collaboration and sharing resources is essential to successful implementation – why keep re-inventing the wheel? We need to focus on how they can be used for teaching and learning – not just what they are and how they work. For successful broadband technologies to become integrated in our schools we need to focus on learning modules and blended learning environments.


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