ConnectEd is a federal government program that will provide 99 percent of American students with broadband access within five years.
President Obama announced the plan in June 2013 to provide high speed internet access to nearly all students in the country, instead of the current 20 percent. By comparison, 100 percent of the students in South Korea are connected, the president says. The plan is already underway with the FCC since it does not require congressional approval.
President Obama has been a supporter of internet entrepreneurs throughout his administration. He announced a similar national wireless plan in February 2011. He supports the idea of connectability everywhere, including rural areas, and he encourages online start-ups.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the plan aims at raising $27 billion from entrepreneurs within its first decade. The plan also aims to raise the quality of education, national security and the business community.
The president’s support for internet businesses goes hand-in-hand with the greening of America and helping people become less dependent on the private and government sectors for income. The internet provides a more environmentally friendly platform than the physical world, while cutting costs and preserving resources, especially with schools operating on extremely tight budgets.
How the Internet Helps Schools
Electronic books are growing in popularity due to their nature of not needing paper from forests. Millions of trees have been cut over the past century to make textbooks for schools that become outdated and destroyed instead of recycled.
Since eBooks are also easier to read and preserve, not to mention cheaper than physical books, it’s easy to see why education is becoming more electronic. The White House said it wants printed textbooks phased out of schools by 2016. The internet also creates flexibility that allows students to study from home on their own time.
The internet is one of the fastest ways to learn anything (PDF). Sites such as Google and WIkipedia can provide answers to many questions quicker than the most organized library. YouTube alone is a vast collection of videos in which a percentage offer educational value that’s more up-to-date than textbooks. The internet also gives students access to a vast array of news publications that might not all be found in a given library.
The ConnectEd program will increase internet speeds by as much as 100 times faster than what’s typically found in schools. The program calls for high speed internet connection operating at 100 megabits per second. Faster internet allows faster information gathering. It’s also necessary for streaming video, which accelerates learning by providing visual demonstrations on how to do things. Stopping and reviewing videos has become an educational advantage in the digital age.
High speed internet opens the doors to all kinds of interactive online collaboration and networking ideas. Distance learning, which allows students to earn college degrees online, is another important component of the president’s plan that crosses over into his vision of a greener nation.