Dec 09 2009

Bandwidth Squeeze: Why Providing Enough Bandwith Is a Challenge for Schools

More schools are seeking to improve connectivity for students.


Is your school providing enough bandwidth for its students' online activities? Many U.S. schools appear to be coming up short. According to the America's Digital Schools 2008 report, the national average bandwidth calculated on a per-student basis is 6.5 kilobits per second, which is far below the 100Kbps to 1 megabit-per-second, per user, bandwidth that is recommended by the State Educational Technology Directors Association in its 2008 publication High Speed Broadband Access for All Kids. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act may help close this gap. The stimulus funding includes $7.2 billion to bolster broadband in underserved
areas, which could improve broadband connectivity at K–12 schools.

Source: America's Digital Schools 2008; SETDA

Bart Goes Mobile

If lampooning is the sincerest form of flattery, then look no further than The Simpsons for proof that mobile computing in the classroom has become mainstream. In the episode “Bart Gets a Z,” which first aired in October 2009, several classroom scenes highlight the good (and the bad) of allowing students to use mobile devices at school. The increasing ubiquity of mobile devices in students' hands is noted by the Center on Media and Child Health, whose research reveals that 54 percent of children ages 8 to 12 will have their own cell phone by 2012. Today's students are growing up with mobile computing, leaving it up to educators to find ways to harness this resource.

Source: Center on Media and Child Health

A Thumb in the Digital Dam

How well are schools keeping students from accessing inappropriate content online? Not as well as you might think. The typical URL filtering system fails to block up to 30 percent of students' attempts to view inappropriate sites. Most schools turn to such filtering products to meet the requirements of the Children's Internet Protection Act. The filters check requested URLs against a blacklist of inappropriate web addresses, blocking any request that matches an address on the list. But this approach can't keep up with the dynamic pace of Internet growth, nor the peak level of URL requests from today's tech-focused schools.

Source: Blue Coat Systems