Sunday, November 9, 2014

#Internet4schools: Make Your Voice Heard

Back in 2009 when we began to transform teaching and learning at New Milford High School we were extremely fortunate at the time to have wireless Internet access throughout the school.  This was an extremely big deal five years ago and ultimately gave us an edge in terms of the many successful initiatives we rolled out including Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and digital learning across the curriculum.  The ubiquitous access to the Internet eventual led to the implementation of more student-centered instructional practices where students began to take ownership over their learning. We began to create a school that worked better for them in that they could create learning artifacts to demonstrate conceptual mastery through the construction of new knowledge and application of skills. Access to the Internet allowed us and our students to harness and leverage thousands of free tools to support teaching and learning as described above.

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Fast forward to 2014 and one would think that all schools would be in a position to provide Internet access to students like we were able to for the past five years.  Obviously I was extremely naive to think this. The typical K–12 public school has the same internet access as the average home, only with 200 times more users. That means that 2 out of every 3 students do not have the high speed internet access they need in their schools.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering expanding Internet access in schools and we need your help telling them to vote “YES” to expanding E-rate in order to provide the nation’s students with the tools they need.

If you are like me you have seen the positive impact that Internet access can have on student learning both inside and outside of school.  Please take just a few minutes to create a 15 second video explaining why all students across the country deserve Internet access in their schools.  Here is the text you can use in a tweet or status update:

#Internet4schools matters - Tell @FCC to vote YES and bring Internet to all schools with a 15 second video

Video I created

Once your video is created share across social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram.  I made the video above quickly using Instagram. I suggest you also tag some of your connected friends in your social media update to make this initiative go viral in a similar way to the Ice Bucket Challenge earlier this year.  Bottom line - all students deserve quality Internet access in schools so that they can use real world tools to do real world work, develop digital literacy skills, collaborate with peers, unleash creativity, and find more relevance in their learning.

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