Education: A Golden Age

“The education sector’s structure and policies will change more in the next 3 years than they changed in the last 2,500 years”

SETDA bandwidth timeline recommendation: need to be brought in line with global lead

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State Educational Technology Directors Association Vision 20/20: “High-Speed Broadband Access for All Kids: Breaking through the Barriers”
http://www.setda.org/web/guest/class2020actionplan

Key recommendations include:
In a technology-rich learning environment for the next 2-3 years, SETDA recommends:

  • An external Internet connection to the Internet Service Provider of 10 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff
  • Internal wide area network connections from the district to each school between schools of at least 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff

In a technology-rich learning environment for the next 5-7 years, SETDA recommends:

  • An external Internet connection to the Internet Service Provider of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff
  • Internal wide area network connections from the district to each school between schools of at least 1 Gbps per 1,000 students/staff

Our comments: In 2-3 years probably some 50% of all Grade 5-12 students will receive instruction in at least one subject from a teacher who is not local.  This instruction typically equates to a continuous during-daytime-education-hours bandwidth (to the external Internet) of about 400Mbps downstream and 50Mbps upstream per 1,000 students.

If the typical school external Internet connection even 2-3 years from now (a very long web 2.0 time) is only 10 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff then there will be a huge surge of students (an increasing number of whom already have more than 10Mbps at home – each) using their education vouchers largely to pay for home-based instruction, spending a much reduced amount of time on school premises.

Some European reports, in comparison, already in 2003 specified 500Kbps (bi-directional) per student – 500Mbps per 1,000 students – as the appropriate external Internet bandwidth for 2008.  The European countries aren’t quite there yet, but at least the typical (northern European) school external Internet connection is now, as of 2008, at about 100Mbps per 1,000 students (all over fiber and easily increased).

We urge SETDA to make the 5-7 year recommendations 2-3 year ones.

About bandwidth’s importance for global competitiveness see Clyde Prestowitz: http://www.oplan.org/documents/articles/america-s-technology-future-at-risk-broadband-and-investment-strategies-to-refire-innovation/fss_download/file

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2008/06/25 - Posted by | Policy

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