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Idea of the Day: Equipping Classrooms for the 21st Century

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This summer, President Barack Obama asked a simple question: “In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, why wouldn’t we have it in our schools?”

If a coffeehouse has slow Wi-Fi, the consequences generally aren’t substantial—you might not be able to Skype with your friend in England while sipping your latte, for example—but the lack of technology in our schools has significant implications. Schools need robust digital tools to give students the knowledge and skills to succeed—just imagine a high school graduate arriving at college not knowing how to use Excel. But more than that, technology is increasingly key to making schools more effective. Tests, for instance, can now be given online to provide a much more accurate measurement of student achievement. Teachers can also use software to enrich learning and make grading homework much easier.

However, schools and districts across the country desperately lack technological capacity. When we recently studied unpublished data from the Software & Information Industry Association’s 2013 Vision K-20 Survey, for instance, we found that 70 percent of educators believe that there is simply not enough bandwidth in their schools. What’s more, it appears that urban schools often have the least access to bandwidth.

For more on this topic, please see:

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or ashoup@americanprogress.org

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or cpatterson@americanprogress.org

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or mmeth@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or lhamilton@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here