After a call to action at the 2014 State of the Union, President Barack Obama has succeeded in arranging a pledge that totals $750 million from multiple technology companies. This pledge will aid low-income students in public schools ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade get access to Internet and educational tools. This initiative is a part of Obama’s ConnectED initiative that was mentioned during his State of the Union address. The president and his administration hope to integrate this advantage within five years so that students will be able to utilize and enjoy technology-based learning resources.
AT&T and Sprint are collaborating with a pledge to provide free wireless service to students while Verizon will contribute $100 million in cash and other additions to accelerate development of teachers working with science, technology, engineering and math. Apple is funding $100 million in iPads, Microsoft is rumored to be donating a potential of $1 billion into the education system through offering Windows-based tablets and laptops. Students and teachers alike will also receive 12 million copies of Windows 8.1 Pro, copes of Office and other educational resources. Finally, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to provide an additional 20 million over a two-year period to help students gain broadband Internet access.
ConnectED seeks to upgrade connectivity between students and the digital age and minimize gaps that are leaving students behind. It also pursues the idea of training teachers to use technology to improve student outcomes. This portion of the plan will work alongside using existing funding through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to better classroom environments. Additionally, it will build on private-sector innovation, which means both students, and teachers can take advantage of educational devices that are increasingly price competitive with other books and software. It will provide content aligned with college and career ready standards that will unify states across America.
This movement will accelerate schools into a new, digital based era where students and teachers can utilize global connectivity where both can learn to collaborate and network in order to learn. It will unify the learning setting across different states, cultures, and financial backgrounds. Students will take away new skill sets that benefit them throughout higher education and potential careers and also learn to expand their mind on an individual level.
Obama’s actions towards this initiative have received a cold reception from Congress. However, instead of being halted by this reception, Obama has traveled the country and announced how he can put these actions into the works on his own. ConnectED does not require lawmakers approval and through Obama’s partnerships with various companies, it is clear the movement is well on its way to improving the American education system.