Since taking office, one of President Barack Obama’s focuses has been preparing America’s students for the challenges they can expect to face in an age of global technology. The fact that millions of students nationwide do not have access to high-speed broadband makes it difficult to compete worldwide.
What Is ConnectED?
In June 2013, President Obama announced the ConnectED initiative, an effort to bring new technology to the nation’s schools. This includes hardware, software, wireless connectivity, and educational content. Calling on the FCC for 99 percent of students to be connected in five years, President Obama said, “We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology. So today, I’m issuing a new challenge for America — one that families, businesses, school districts, and the federal government can rally around together — to connect virtually every student in America’s classrooms to high-speed broadband Internet within five years, and equip them with the tools to make the most of it.”
The ConnectED Hub
Last month, the White House announced the ConnectED Hub, as part of his ConnectED initiative, to link technology companies and schools. Found on the White House website, whitehouse.gov, the ConnectED Hub will channel an estimated $2 billion in goods and services to schools across the nation, with the help of companies including Adobe, Autodesk, Esri, O’Reilly Media, Prezi, Apple, AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon.
One goal of the hub is to encourage private-sector innovation. A statement on the hub reads, “Leading technology companies can produce feature-rich educational devices that are price-competitive with basic textbooks. And a robust market in educational software can unlock the full educational potential of broadband investment, while creating American jobs and export opportunities in a global education marketplace of more than $1 trillion.”