The broadband-enabled technology revolution is impacting every segment of society, including education. The CES HigherEd Tech was a programming track dedicated to discussing the trends and issues that face our nation as classrooms increasingly go digital. According to CES, “An estimated 4.5 million students took online courses in fall 2008, and that number is growing fast. From e-recruitment, e-classes and e-books to open-source curricula and global universities, technology is changing what it means to go to college.”
Google’s Jeff Keltner took the stage yesterday before the education keynote and described the three trends he sees in student expectations of their education because of technology:
1) Engagement – Students now expect interactivity and collaboration in their education.
2) Access – Students believe they are able to access information “anything, anywhere” and their education should reflect that.
3) Continual Innovation – Education processes and material should be new and evolving since there are always new technologies accessing new information.
Dr. Martha Kanter, Under Secretary of Education for the U.S. Department of Education, delivered her keynote next, following an introduction by George Boggs, President & CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Dr. Kanter believes the use of technology will be key to meeting President Obama’s 2020 education goals.
She sees several ways that broadband will be critical. Of course, the obvious is the expectations of students, as today most students are ‘digital natives’ and this will continue to be the case. She also believes that telecommuting plays a large role not only for distance learning, but with 2/3 of students working while they go to college, she hopes that more of them will telecommute and work online. Finally, broadband technology is critical for continuing education, as most people now follow several career paths in varying fields in a lifetime, which requires retraining.
Overall, Dr. Kanter calls for the redesigning of our education strategy, from early learning to k-12 to higher ed, to best meet President Obama’s goals and to remain competitive on an international playing field. Thanks to widespread and ongoing investments in our broadband network, we can be confident that our broadband providers will be doing their part to meet all of these education challenges.
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