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FCC Decision Opens the Door for Rural Broadband Access

I heard an NPR story the other day about the FCC‘s recent ruling that diverts monthly fees from rural telephone service to rural broadband service. The “Universal Service Fund” or something similar has been around since the early 20th century, charging a small fee on our phone bills to subsidize phone service for rural areas and the poor.

The newly minted “Connect America Fund” now allocates this money for mobile telephone and broadband in rural communities and needy areas. As I’ve discussed in a blog post earlier this year, access to the internet can not only offer rural U.S. citizens access to critical information, but it can provide them health care benefits that could literally save lives.

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Challenging Students to Reach Out with Telepresence


Ever hear about an interesting location, historical site or tourist attraction and thought “wow, I only live five miles from there, I should check it out”? Well, it just happens that there are numerous groups of students who are engaging with the uniqueness of their communities and sharing their knowledge with the world.

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Utah Education Network: A true innovator in education technology

Utah Education Network (UEN) joined the ranks of technology leaders in October when the Utah Governor broadcast a motivational speech to Utah high school students via live-telecast. Governor Gary R. Herbert was the first ever Utah governor to address students through statewide broadcast.

The Governor’s address was broadcast via telepresence from the USU/CEU center in Blanding and was available via live-stream to every high school in the state. A recording of Governor Herbert’s live event is housed on the UEN site. During the event, the Governor took questions via interactive video from students in Rich High School (Randolph, UT), Orem High School, and Murray High School. Read More »

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Lessons from the DOD: Energizing and Engaging Students through Technology

A recent American Forces Press Service article reported that the Department of Defense (DOD) launched a visionary program to renovate or replace 134 of its 194 schools worldwide. The DOD allotted  $3.7 billion to bring all of its schools up to the highest technology levels by 2016 and Congress appropriated nearly $400 million in fiscal 2011 to aid the effort. This is a fantastic program that builds on the Department of Education’s current initiative to prioritize technologies such as telepresence for K-12 schools.

As technology becomes more prevalent in the classroom, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) has embraced multiple initiatives, from building robots to teaching Japanese in a virtual learning program. According to the story, military children move an average of six to eight times over the course of their school careers, making these programs particularly important. Read More »

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Generation Telepresence: Putting Video in the Palms of Students’ Hands

Put tablets, laptops, netbooks, among other devices, in the hands of grade- school students, and it’s only minutes before they’re innovating, creating, and communicating.

From the time they’re aware of the world around them, today’s children see and use technology. I’ve written before about the ubiquity of technology in the classrooms of our youngest learners, and as noted in a recent Education Week article, schools continue to experiment with available technology to determine the right tools to maximize their students’ learning. Read More »

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