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Statement of Patrick S. Finn on the FCC’s Order to Modernize and Reform the E-Rate Program

“The FCC, under the leadership of Chairman Tom Wheeler, has taken a vital first step toward E-rate modernization and reform today.”

It’s critical that we modernize and reform the E-Rate program to connect all classrooms across the country to high-speed wireless broadband within five years.  Today’s order, which provides an additional $2 billion toward Wi-Fi networking in classrooms over the next two funding years, represents a significant down payment on this goal.  Importantly, the FCC is prioritizing connectivity for students and teachers in the classroom via Wi-Fi for the next two years, with the intention of continuing that funding into the future. It will also help connect rural schools, while mitigating bureaucracy and red tape that impact the ability to quickly deploy the technology schools and libraries need.

To compete and succeed in the global marketplace, our students and teachers need to have access to the world’s libraries, scientific discoveries, and innovative educational tools at their fingertips.  That’s where E-rate comes in. E-rate is the foundation for Internet access in public schools and libraries across America. Read More »

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#HigherEdThursdays – Using Technology to Create Cultural Shifts

July 3, 2014 at 7:34 am PST

Thank you for being a part of our Higher Ed Thursdays conversations.  Today concludes this series, and we’re looking forward to re-starting the discussion near the beginning of the school year.  New trends are emerging for the next phase of our discussion, including how to secure your campus environment and intellectual property, how the Internet of Everything will change higher education, and the finance of higher education.

In this current series, we’ve seen that educators share a common crisis in the delivery of higher learning. They suffer many of the same challenges, with regard to access to quality educational experiences, the need to evolve outdated teaching methodologies, and the imperative to prepare students to become part of the workforce of the future.

To address these challenges, we recommend that the community share a common approach in helping to transform its systems. It can employ an approach that uses technology to create cultural shifts, modernize teaching and learning to prepare learners for next-generation careers, and effectively scale these modifications. Read More »

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Florida Mentoring Program Connects Gator Athletes with Elementary Students

June 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm PST

Throughout its 106-year history, the University of Florida’s (UF) intercollegiate sports teams, commonly referred to as “Florida Gators,” have won 27 national team championships and Gator athletes have won 241 individual national championships.

According to an article in the Gainesville Times, UF is now extending its good fortune to a small group of Oakwood Elementary School students located 375 miles away from the university’s campus. Through video conferencing, the lucky group of students gets to spend around 30 minutes each week with its athlete mentors, including Gray Horn (track and field), Jeff Demps (track and field/football) and Tahnai Annis (soccer).  Read More »

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Universities Adjust to Teaching a Different Kind of College Freshman

February 8, 2012 at 5:14 am PST

There’s a different kind of college freshman on university campuses these days. According to EdWeek’s report on The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011 survey, today’s freshman bears more of the cost of his or her own education than did past first-year college students, and, as a high school senior, today’s freshman paid more attention to his or her studies than those who came before.

So what does this mean for colleges?

For one, today’s students’ higher academic engagement could translate into demand for more innovative, challenging courses. But with the survey showing more students taking out large student loans as their parents’ unemployment rates remain stagnant, universities cannot raise tuition price tags to hire more faculty to develop new classes. President Obama said as much in his January 24 State of the Union address, mandating that schools use tools like “better technology” to improve their course offerings without raising costs. Read More »

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Telepresence Key to Boosting the Nation’s Science and Math IQ

January 11, 2012 at 7:46 am PST

Though it’s wonderful to read about recent positive trends, there’s no question that the jobless rate has caused concern for some time now. Did you know, however, that in some sectors there are consistently more job openings than there are qualified candidates?

According to a U.S. News blog post by Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, a New Jersey-based charter school founder, fields including computer science, environmental science, medicine, and engineering all need trained professionals. The problem, Bonilla-Santiago says, is that America’s schools don’t provide adequate training in the STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—so there aren’t enough prepared people for the available jobs.

Part of the issue, Bonilla-Santiago suggests, is that teachers do not have adequate training in the sciences to effectively teach these subjects. Congress considered solutions that would bring more qualified instructors into the classroom, including encouraging STEM professionals to transition from their industry jobs to teaching positions. But wouldn’t this shift just exacerbate the current vacancy rates in the STEM fields? Read More »

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