At the beginning of the Internet revolution, most schools with limited funds built small Internet pipes. This is because most resources that our teachers and students needed were located in the school, locally, and those small pipes worked fine. However, today content resources have moved to—and exploded on—the Internet. There are tools that can help us better assess student performance and knowledge. There are educational resources and apps in the "cloud" that bring current events into the classroom. There are tools that teachers can use to better assess and adapt to student learning styles. All this means that there are more students in more classrooms who are using more desktop, laptop, notepad, and even smartphone devices that demand more resources through those small pipes.
EducationSuperHighway wants to help schools have internet connections that are strong and fast enough to support the products of this digital revolution, and you can help by replying to this thread with answers to these questions.
I had the opportunity to provide professional development in the county where I attended school many years ago. I was asked to work with teachers on strategies for integrating technology into the curriculum. The computers were wheeled into the band room to prepare for the training. Each teacher was given a computer. They turned their computers on to begin working to find that only a few were able to connect to the internet. Instead of facilitating a workshop that allowed hands on for each teacher, I had to change the activities to focus on small group collaborative activities so teachers would be able to participate and follow along. So in answer to your question, I would say the internet speed was painful.
Thanks for your response. This is really helpful in allowing us to get a glimpse of what's going on in the classrooms. At EducationSuperHighway, our mission is to make this less painful for you and teachers across the United States. We have support from the FCC, the Department of Education, and other organizations, which really validates our plan. However, the first step to identify the actual connectivity in all schools. If you can help us, please take 1 minute and take the National School Speed Test at www.SchoolSpeedTest.org. We'll then aggregate the data to make recommendations on how to better allocate the $2.5 billion of Federal Funding and how schools and then buy cooperatively to earn volume discounts. I hope you can join our efforts.
Like Gail, I have had the opportunity to train in districts with a wide variety of connection speeds and bandwidth. Over the years I have found ways to deal with slow speeds, but it gets harder and harder.
THe primary district in my community has blazingly fast 100 mb connections throughout and they are experimenting with a BYOD program. The leaders of the technology department truly understand what teachers and students can do if given respect and openness along with access to the tech tools. Most websites are open to students and all are open to teachers.
IN addition, a private company has obtained large grants to build a statewide network with towers throughout the state. This is a fabulous opportunity since it is meant to be self-redirecting. Arizona is a very large state in land area, but the population centers are very spread out and there are many communities which are very isolated and rural. This is quite unlike Eastern and Midwestern states where population centers are closer together. Previous to the building of this network there was only one pipeline of infrastructure providing Internet to the entire northern half of our state- about the size of France... and if that pipeline went down, all of the city, county, school, emergency providers and everyone else lost their connections. The new network has possibilities, but the channel created for education only reaches to communities where there is a high school and there are many which don't. Security issues are currently being worked out as there are (small p) political issues and the issue of cost to be worked out. However if these are ironed out, more and more schools will have access to 100 mb connections.
My community even has issues in residential infrastructure, and one provider still only has the capacity to provide 3mb connections in my own neighborhood. This is part of the reason that the district created their high-speed network. I had to stay at work to participate in webinars and to provide webinar trainings.
This is an important issue in many communities!
The school of Lamon Bay School of Fisheries is located in San Vicente, Gumaca, Quezon, Philippines. I consider the school’s Internet as very painful. I have attended seminars encouraging us, teachers, to utilize the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) or computer in teaching. However, most of the resources and activities they are teaching us are to be done online. We had an internet connection but it is very low compared to those in the town of Gumaca and Lopez. And doing online activities is just impossible as of this date. I am still inquiring from time to time to the ISP in our area and up to this time, the only source we can avail is the so called “dongle” or USB modem. So, I was still hoping that one day, our school would be like those schools with a fast internet connection I have dreamed it to be, utilizing the online resources and doing online activities.
All schools in Colorado have various internet connections depending on their location. I live in a rural area, and choices for internet connection are somewhat limited. It's either with a local phone company or satellite. Those options vary in speeds and availability.
There is a group that is building a state-wide internet connection for all schools. Those fiber-optic connections are still being installed around the entire state. It will definitely be interesting when that is all up and running. It is suppose to be very secure and will have high speed connection. We will just have to wait and see.
I'm so cheering for the rural schools to have speedy internet connections as city schools now have.
Our school district uses the "Cloud" which is sometimes very frustrating to use. There are many times that the cloud is not functioning correctly, and I cannot open googledocs, or any of the other internet sites approved by the district.
The school district has embraced the use of iPads. There are schools that have iPad carts that can be rolled into a classroom and shared by the students. There are some schools where each teacher has been issued an iPad for use with all the students in the classroom. Document cameras and digital projectors are available in almost all classrooms.
The speed of our internet is fine until more than a few teachers try to use it at the same time. If we are in a workshop and the teachers are trying to use laptops, then the internet slows down. There are computer labs where we can work at the same time. I don't know how fast our intranet is, but there are good speed times, and bad speed times.
I teach in the Austin ISD and for basic use, I would rate our speed is average. For video and music streaming, painful! Here is an article from Forbes (Jan, 2011 but probably still accurate) about global internet speeds:
Most Utah schools are served by the Utah Education Network. For years, they have used funds to get the fastest connections possible in schools. I'd say my school's speed is "fast" but not "blazing." (This is based on comparisons of speed tests between school and my home. My home is at least 2x faster than the school's connection. At school I usually get 7 Mbps while my home connection typically pushes 15 Mbps.)
I registered for the SchoolSpeedTest on Saturday and have still not received an email with my statistics. I, however, hope the delay is due to a weekend.
By the way, my ISP just notified me that my home connection will go up to 50Mbps effective later this month. I appreciate having a provider who upgrades me without trying to get me into a different agreement or price structure!
Thanks for taking the SchoolSpeedTest. What was your speed while you were connected to your school? After pressing the "Take the Test" button, we publish the upload and download speed right on the site. Were you able to get that far in the 1 minute speed test? Would love to hear what you experienced for the test.
My data did not really surprise me. I use our network a lot and can tell when we are having a slow day compared to a great one. There was a day recently when we had problems with our network. The problems were NOT related to any connections - rather to district security software malfunctions. As a result the speeds were so slow that 3 out of 5 web pages I tried to access would not load. I was thrilled when the problem was fixed!
How is your school handling this demand of digital tools?
Even though we live in Lubang Island, Occ. Mindoro, Philippines we can still meet the demands of digital tools by exposing teachers and students on how to use ICT as a tool in teaching-learning process.
Through the initiative of our school principal, Mr. Alfredo S. Puli Jr.... almost all of our classroom have OHP (Overhead projector) from donations of the Alumni.
So far, the Internet speed in our school is average.
Thanks for your feedback and glad to hear that the Internet speed is working okay for you. Have you been able to take the School Speed Test? I would be interested in hearing what sort of upload and download speed you have in Lubang Island. Here's the link to take the test. www.SchoolSpeedTest.org
Our school's internet speed sometimes fast, at times average but most of the time is painful. This maybe is affected by some factors such as the weather condition, number of users, network problem probably some unknown technical problems. This may be addressed by setting inbound and outbound traffic rules on the router. But, i guess when you do this, lots of your colleagues will raise their brows and will curse you. The solution is secure your own broadband stick and/or work at home if you are connected in a network.
Our school's internet speed most of the time is painful. The maximum speed given by the Internet service provider is only 64 kbps, and sometimes varies due to some reasons or factors such as the number of users/school sharing, and some technical faults and errors. After the contract from the WIT, Phil., we will look for another ISP available in our locality which can give a better service necessary to provide access and internet literacy for students and teachers.
Wow, thanks for the post Lisa. I am now super curious on how my school rates on the school speed test. I am going to try it out tomorrow. I believe our speed is really pretty good considering we are a very large school district. One of the things that helps our bandwidth is blocking sites like netflix, pandora, skype which can be real streaming hogs. We can use some of those blocked sites but we have to get permission from our district tech person to unblock so it only takes a phone call and a good rationale. I'll get back to you on my speed....