Broadband Internet has not only changed the way people communicate around the world, it is also changing the way the American education system works. In fact, many students have developed impressive computer skills long before they begin their formal education. Below are 4 ways broadband Internet is changing education in the United States.
Ensuring Students Are Technologically Savvy
One of the ways broadband is changing education is by training students to be technologically savvy. According to the US Census, as of 2013, just over 83% of households have computers. While this number is high, there is still a large percentage of the student population who does not have access to the Internet in their home. By improving access to the Internet at school –and in libraries around the nation – students who live in households without a computer are still able to develop tech skills, which are essential for success in both education and the professional world.
Exposure To Students And Teachers From Around The Globe
The 2008 Broadband Data Improvement Act aims to ensure that access to affordable Internet for schools and libraries is available. One of the many initiatives of the act is to ensure:
“The deployment and adoption of broadband technology has resulted in enhanced economic development and public safety for communities across the Nation, improved health care and educational opportunities, and a better quality of life for all Americans.”
Many students and teachers are looking for educational opportunities far beyond their local environment; using the Internet to connect students with new learning opportunities above and beyond what may be available. For example, a school that cannot afford to employ a full-time music teacher may opt to stream a remote educator. Remote education is also an excellent way to practice speaking a foreign language, and many classes have a “sister” class in another country.
Ease Of Access To Education For Those Who Are Homebound
Students who are homebound can quickly and easily begin to feel isolated. Whether students are homebound due to short-term or long-term injury, illness, or mobility limitations—broadband allows students to connect and engage teachers and classmates from anywhere with Internet access. This includes students who are homebound, and even students who are in the hospital. According to Wave Broadband many ISP companies including are moving to accept policies which support competitively priced, high-speed broadband Internet which should be made available to all Americans.
Online-Only Secondary Education
Primary education is not the only area in which broadband is changing education. Many students who desire to obtain a secondary education–or wish to return to school and may not have the time in their schedule to attend live classes–are using the Internet to attend class. This remote attendance is often a result of a full-time work schedule that does not permit traditional, on-campus education. Broadband Internet allows such students to take some or all of their college courses online. As an added bonus, online courses are often significantly less expensive than live college classes.
Above and beyond the 4 ways broadband is changing education, the Internet allows for digital learning tools which appeal to a wider range of learning styles. Students can also utilize digital textbooks which are often less expensive for the school and the student to purchase. Due to the lower price point of digital formats, digital textbooks can also be updated with greater frequency.