FCC Pilot Project Gives Home Internet Access to Schoolchildren

  • Education
  • FCC
WASHINGTON, DC – An innovative program launched by the Federal Communications Commission will help 20 schools and libraries give home Internet connections to students so they can use digital textbooks, interactive learning tools and other innovative wireless technologies. These mobile learning devices will enable teachers and parents to tailor school curricula and interactive learning to students’ skill sets.

As the FCC points out in its press release, because digital textbooks never go out of date, students will always have the latest educational curricula available. Digital textbooks also allow educators to add new content - such as assessments, simulations, or videos – to bring lessons to life. Digital tools also help parents monitor and evaluate how their children are doing and find out where they need more help. New wireless devices and applications will also help teachers integrate school and homework
assignments for students.

Learning on the Go
The new FCC wireless pilot project, “Learning On-The-Go,” will provide up to $9 million for the 20 schools and libraries for the 2011-2012 funding year. It builds on the FCC’s modernization of the E-rate program last fall and follows recommendations of the National Broadband Plan.

Before the E-rate rules were changed, the program supported connectivity only at schools and libraries. Students weren't able to take the benefits of Internet access home with them. Now, according to an FCC survey, about half of schools and libraries plan to implement or expand the use of digital textbooks and other wireless devices for digital learning.

The 20 selected projects include initiatives to improve off-campus access to e-textbooks for students; connectivity for netbooks for students living in remote, isolated areas; and access to flexible, online education programs for home-bound students unable to attend classes.

This pilot program is one of a series of FCC initiatives to help bring fast, affordable Internet access to schools and libraries. Others include fiber-connecting schools and libraries via existing, unused fiber optic lines and authorizing “School Spots” where
schools can provide Internet access to the community after students go home.


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