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Using E-Rate to lead a Digital Transformation in Education

For many businesses, technology has become an integral part of operations, transforming the way people learn, think, and do their jobs. With the right tools, K-12 school districts can experience these same transformational benefits. Digital transformation in education means using technology to create better access to educational experiences for students. That can be using mobile solutions to allow students to access anytime, anywhere learning in a secure way. Or it could be using collaboration tools to create a shared learning environment, or data analytics to help teachers fill in gaps in students’ skills and knowledge.

While the benefits of digital transformation for students are vast, one of the biggest hurdles schools face in their quest for transformation is funding. It requires a significant investment to ensure network infrastructure is adequate, to purchase technology tools for students and teachers, and to train educators on how to best use the new technologies in the classroom.

Schools facing this hurdle should consider leveraging the E-rate Program. USAC just announced that the window for filing E-rate applications for Funding Year 2016 will open on February 3, 2016. The window will close 87 days later on April 29. If your school meets the criteria for the program, you can save anywhere from 20 to 90 percent on eligible services. These discounts can ease the financial burden of upgrading network infrastructure and put schools on the path to a successful digital transformation. To learn more about digital transformation in education and how the E-rate Program can help, check out this special report from Cisco and eSchool News.

On Tuesday, February 9, Cisco will host a webcast on E-rate and the digital transformation. The webcast will feature Scott Smith, the CTO of Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, and John Harrington, CEO, Funds for Learning. Scott will discuss how their all-digital curriculum has led to more personalized, student-centric, and data-driven approaches. John will provide a briefing on current status of the E-Rate program—including procurement best practices and current filing deadlines. To register for the webcast, click here.

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Connecting Every School in America To High – Speed broadband

In every school district in America today, educators are faced with a simple, yet critically important, question.  How do we obtain, implement, and integrate transformative technology into all of our schools and classrooms?

Some districts have embraced technology and put mobile and collaborative devices in the hands of students.   In The Katy School District in Texas, for instance, performance on math tests increased from 70th to 90th percentile following adoption of mobile technologies and devices. Similarly, in the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, the district increased levels of competency in all subject areas from 60 percent to over 85 percent, and graduation rates increased by 22 percent.

But in too many schools and school districts today, the promise of connected classrooms is just that – a promise, and not reality.

That’s why it’s so critical that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) modernize and streamline the E-Rate program.  E-Rate is the cornerstone of America’s effort to provide digital education to students.  Since the program’s inception 15 years ago, E-Rate has connected more than 100,000 schools and libraries to the internet. It has a proven track record of success.

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