FCC Releases Digital Inclusion Plan: “Strategies and Recommendations for Promoting Digital Inclusion”

With this plan, several of the following goals laid out in the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order are or can be realized. First, this plan marks another step in the Commission’s efforts to better understand non-price barriers to digital inclusion and to facilitate existing and forthcoming efforts addressing them. This plan also seeks to promote and highlight digital inclusion initiatives generally and those that leverage the modernized Lifeline program to bring broadband access to more Americans. In this regard, the Bureau has taken into account recent research from experts and builds upon earlier efforts by the Commission to study the impact of digital inclusion initiatives.

Second, this plan explores how the Bureau can engage consumer groups, community groups, philanthropic organizations, local governments, and corporations to increase broadband adoption and digital literacy among those who remain offline. At present, many efforts exist to provide individuals and families with affordable service, equipment, digital literacy training, and relevant programming. In Section III below, we present strategies digital inclusion stakeholders are executing in order to be most effective and highlight many of those efforts. For example, we highlight efforts to tailor digital inclusion programs to the individuals’ interests, cultural realities, and experiences in both rural and urban areas. We also spotlight programs that seek to co-locate digital inclusion programs with other services and programs used by low-income consumers and highlight efforts by trusted community partners to leverage philanthropic and corporate resources to bring affordable equipment and services to low-income consumers. Going forward, we encourage connecting these efforts, through coalition building and regular meetings, so that parties can more effectively work together to deliver comprehensive digital inclusion assistance to communities. Accordingly, in Section IV, we make recommendations for how the Commission can facilitate digital inclusion initiatives through outreach to consumers and stakeholders to educate them about uses for broadband and available resources, like existing programs that may complement or facilitate their work. We also identify partnerships with other federal agencies and local governments that may help public and private stakeholders better assist local communities. Finally, we suggest policy innovations that make the broadband marketplace more transparent and affordable for low-income households and more amendable to promoting digital inclusion in addition to broadband access and adoption.

Download and read the plan from the FCC at https://www.fcc.gov/document/strategies-and-recommendations-promoting-digital-inclusion

 

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Teachers Need a Growth Mindset Too

gil-169hero-mindsettips-shutterstockPushing our students to adopt a growth mindset is an easy call. Adopting one ourselves is harder.

For a teacher, it’s pretty easy to focus on improving students—that’s our job, right? So when I learned about Carol Dweck’s theory of growth mindset, my first thought was about how I could get my students onboard with this idea.
And then I realized that if I were to better my own craft, I would have to take on the challenge for myself as well.

I think that I succeed as a teacher because I’m willing to mess up often and mess up big. And yet, I also take any excuse to avoid pushing myself to grow. Having a growth mindset doesn’t just mean learning about the theory and leaving it at that. It’s a constant process. Sometimes it’s difficult, often it’s a little painful, but it’s always worth the effort. Continue reading

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HUD issues new rules to narrow digital divide

hud-logoThe US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued two new rules that will help narrow the digital divide. The first new rule requires developers to install broadband infrastructure during construction and rehabilitation of HUD-supported housing and the second requires state and local governments to evaluate broadband access in their community development priorities.

Both rules are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget before they got into effect and it’s unclear if the Trump administration will approve them.

HUD’s new rules are much-needed, as more than half of low-income renters don’t have access to broadband. In addition, the rules demonstrate how federal agencies can adopt policies to encourage digital equality. Continue reading

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Clarifying the Overall Pedagogical Approach

Posted on iNACOL.org on December 29, 2016 in , by   This is the eighth article in the series Implementing Competency Education in K-12 Systems: Insights from Local LeadersLinks to the other articles in this series are given below.

implementing-comp-ed-232x300Some districts and schools may already have a strong pedagogical approach in place, while others may find they need to think more in-depth about motivation, engagement, instruction, assessment, and the role of grading. If there isn’t an explicit pedagogical approach in place, it should begin with a review of research and lead to the development of guiding principles about learning and teaching (as discussed in the section on shared purpose).

What are the research, beliefs, and assumptions that guide your pedagogical approach? Having a strong pedagogical approach isn’t the same as saying you want all teachers to teach in the same way. Instead, it is a set of general principles that help answer questions such as:

  • What do we know about the different ways to motivate and engage students?
  • Where does student agency fit in learning?
  • What role do habits of learning play, and how can they be developed in students?
  • What does the research tell us about effective instructional practices?
  • What are the types of assessment, and what role do they play in achievement?
  • What types of learning experiences are needed to help students reach graduation goals?
  • Given your current student population, their academic needs, and their life and learning experiences, how might this inform your school design or pedagogical approach?
  • What challenges and educational needs can online and blended learning help you address?
  • How do parents and the community at large think about these questions?

Continue reading

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What Will Betsy DeVos Do with Ed Tech?

ap_trump_betsydevos_cde_2016-11-23The nominee for education secretary has expressed interest in technology, but it’s unclear how significant its role will be if her appointment is confirmed.

U.S. Department of Education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos appears most prominently in the public record as a proponent of giving parents a variety of educational options to choose for their children. When it comes to the Michigan native’s views on education technology, however, little information has surfaced publicly.  Continue reading

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Dear New Teachers, 10 Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Your First Year Teaching

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iStock.com/SolStock

Here are some suggestions to help you have a fantastic first year in the classroom.

1. Build Community

Your relationships with others will keep you strong, and they might be the key to fueling your energy to persist through challenges. Build strong relationships with your colleagues and administrators and with your students and their parents.

2. Find Hopeful, Positive Mentors

There are veteran teachers who are sad and cynical, and there are others who are wise and hopeful. If you find yourself among the cynical, leave. Stay far from that negativity. You need mentors who can share their wisdom and expertise and who can remind you at the end of October that things will get easier. Continue reading

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3 Ways New England States Have Advanced Competency-Based Education

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New Hampshire made sure its policies would support competency-based education before moving that direction. Alexius Horatius CC BY-SA 3.0

An in-depth report dives into how New England states are trying to help students graduate high school with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

Competency-based education has a strong hold in New England.

Five of the six northeastern states have spent a number of years working to ensure that all students advance and graduate high school with the knowledge and skills they need — not just a few. Also called performance-based or proficiency-based education, competency-based education has five main elements in a working definition that 100 people agreed on at a 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit:

  • Students advance after demonstrating mastery
  • Explicit and transparent learning objectives empower students and improve instruction
  • Students receive timely and differentiated support
  • Aligned assessments are rooted in the cycle of learning
  • Students develop and apply a broad set of skills and dispositions

A recent report from CompetencyWorks — an online resource that shares information about competency-based education — chronicled some of the steps that have paid off in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island. And it noted that while competency-based learning started in Alaska and Boston around 1995, Massachusetts hasn’t embraced it statewide, though some individual school districts are moving forward. Continue reading

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