WASHINGTON, November 3, 2014 – New York State voters will decide on Tuesday on whether to make a $2 billion investment in school technology. The Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014, which was proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and adopted by state Legislature, will appear on the ballot as Proposal Number 3, reported Auburnpub.com.
The proposal came out of the findings of the Smart Schools Commission, established by Gov. Cuomo as an advisory board “to gather information on strategies for how schools can most effectively invest proceeds from the proposed $2 billion Smart Schools Bond.” The commission released its report on the effort on October 27.
Not only would it help fund technologies like tablets and interactive whiteboards for students and teachers, as well as the high-speed connectivity needed to use them, but it could also pay for enhanced security and permanent classrooms. Such funding is especially attractive to rural and poor districts that lack adequate internet infrastructure.
“The Smart Schools Commission is all about identifying the best practices and strategies to transform New York’s schools into modern centers of learning that are fully equipped for the opportunities of tomorrow,” said Cuomo, who announced the referendum in his 2014 State of the State Address. The legislature approved it in the spring.
The amount of funding each school district would receive if the Smart Schools Bond Act Referendum is available at the governor’s web site.
The commission has elicited input from hundreds of parents, teachers, students, administrators and private sector stakeholders through a series of three public symposiums in Albany, Buffalo and New York City, as well as the state’s smart schools web site.
The seven “keys to success” articulated in the report are:
1. Embrace and expand online learning which will break down geographic barriers, provide access to the best sources of instruction in the world, and level the playing field for students in rural and smaller school districts.
2. Utilize transformative technologies, such as tablets, laptops, and interactive whiteboards to deliver differentiated instruction tailored to students’ specific abilities and needs that lets them learn and advance at their own pace.
3. Connect every school to high-speed broadband using technology that is capable of scaling up over time and deliver sufficient wireless capability to serve every student.
4. Extend connectivity beyond the four walls of the classroom so students from all backgrounds have equal access to the information superhighway.
5. Provide high-quality, continuous professional development to teachers, principals, and staff to ensure successful integration of technology into the teaching and learning experience.
6. Focus on in-demand STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] skills to ensure that students graduate with 21st century skills.
7. Plan, plan and plan again.
Not everyone is pleased with the initiative. An editorial on Syracuse.com wrote, “Schools would have to hire personnel to repair and maintain the new equipment and train the staff to use it, an additional cost that would be better spent on hiring more teachers and reducing class sizes. Communities should be the ones to decide whether their tax dollars should be spent on new technology, not Albany.” The publication favors gradually buying equipment.
Among the members of the commission include Eric Schmidt, executive chairman and former CEO of Google; Geoffrey Canada, president of Harlem Children’s Zone, and Constance Evelyn, superintendent of the Auburn School District in Cayuga County, New York.
Digital Literacy Training Needed for Optimal Telehealth Outcomes, Healthcare Reps Say
Digital literacy should be a priority to unlock telehealth’s potential, a telehealth event heard.
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2022 – Digital literacy training should be a priority for providers and consumers to improve telehealth outcomes, experts said at a conference Tuesday.
Digital literacy training will unlock telehealth’s potential to improve health outcomes, according to the event’s experts, including improving treatment for chronic diseases, improving patient-doctor relationships, and providing easier medical access for those without access to transportation.
Julia Skapik of the National Association of Community Health Centers said at the National Telehealth Conference on Tuesday that both patients and clinicians need to be trained on how to use tools that allow both parties to communicate remotely.
Skapik said her association has plans to implement training for providers to utilize tech opportunities, such as patient portals to best engage patients.
Ann Mond Johnson from the American Telemedicine Association agreed that telehealth will improve health outcomes by giving proper training to utilize the technology to offer the services.
The Federal Communications Commission announced its telehealth program in April 2021, which set aside $200 million for health institutions to provide remote care for patients.
W. Antoni Sinkfield: To Succeed in 21st Century, Communities Need to Get Connected Now
One of the primary responsibilities of being a faith leader is to listen to your community and understand its problems.
One of the primary responsibilities of being a faith leader is to listen to your community, understand its problems, and provide support in challenging times. Particularly during the pandemic, it has been hard not to notice that my parishioners, and folks across the country, are divided into two groups: those with access to the internet, and those without.
In 2022, digital inclusion is still something we strive for in poor and rural areas throughout America. The lack of reliable internet access is an enormous disadvantage to so many people in all facets of their lives.
To fully participate in today’s society, all people, no matter who they are and no matter where they live, must have access to the internet. Think of the remote learning every child had to experience when schools were closed, and the challenges that families faced when they didn’t have access to a quality connection.
It’s a question of plain fairness.
Politicians have been talking for decades about bringing high-speed internet access to everyone, however many families continue to be left behind. More than 42 million people across the country lack affordable, reliable broadband connections, and as many as 120 million people who cannot get online are stuck with slow service that does not allow them to take advantage of everything the internet has to offer.
People of color are disproportionately affected by lack of broadband access
Every person in rural towns, urban neighborhoods, and tribal communities needs and deserves equal and full economic and educational opportunities. Studies show that students without home access to the internet are less likely to attend college and face a digital skills gap equivalent to three years’ worth of schooling. Small businesses, which are the cornerstone of rural and urban communities alike, need broadband to reach their customers and provide the service they expect.
Simply put, having access to the internet in every community is vital to its ability to succeed in the 21st century.
Fortunately, we have an opportunity to take major steps toward a solution. Last year, Congress passed President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provides $65 billion to expand broadband access and affordability. It is essential that we use this money to connect as many unserved and underserved communities as we can – and as quickly as we can.
Different places need different options to bridge the digital divide
As we bridge the digital divide, we must listen to those who have been left behind and make sure that we deploy solutions that fit their needs. Different places need different options – so it’s important that all voices are heard, and the technology that works best for the community is made readily available.
All people need access to broadband to learn, work, shop, pay bills, and get efficient healthcare.
When I talk to my parishioners, they speak about how much of their lives have transitioned online and are frustrated about not having reliable access. They do not care about the nuances of how we bring broadband to everyone. They just want to have it now – and understandably so.
This means that we must explore all solutions possible to provide high-speed broadband with the connection and support they need, when they need it, regardless of where they live.
Now is the time to meet those struggling where they are, stop dreaming about bridging the divide, and just get it done. Our government has a rare opportunity to fix an enormous problem, using money already approved for the purpose. Let’s make sure they do so in a manner that works for the communities they’re trying to help.
Rev. W. Antoni Sinkfield, Ph.D., serves as Associate Dean for Community Life at Wesley Theological Seminary, and is an ordained Itinerate Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.
Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.
Biden Delivers Remarks on Free Broadband to Qualified Households
Biden compared the value of broadband to telephone service, and drew parallels to the historic effort to connect the country.
WASHINGTON, May 9, 2022 – President Joe Biden emphasized the essential nature of broadband during a public appearance on Monday.
Biden delivered remarks at the White House Rose Garden on the day’s earlier announcement that the federal government would work with both regional and national broadband providers to provide essentially free broadband to qualified households.
“Too many Americans simply cannot afford to get connected even if there is access to get connected. So, they go without high-speed internet, or they sacrifice other necessities in order to make it work,” Biden said.
“High-speed internet is not a luxury any longer – it is a necessity,” Biden said. “That is why the bipartisan infrastructure law included $65 billion to make sure we expand access to broadband internet in every region of the country.”
Biden also laid out the criteria for eligible households to take advantage of Affordable Connectivity Program, which when paired with the effort by ISPs to keep 100 Mbps download services under $30, provides free internet to consumers.
“If your household income is twice the federal poverty level or less – that is that’s about $55,000 per year for a family of four – or $27,000 for an individual – or a member of your household is on Medicaid or supplementary [social] security income or a number of other programs – you are eligible.”
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