The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Education are hosting an executive digital learning summit today in Washington, D.C. Claiming support for mobile learning and digital education, T-Mobile announced successful programs in several U.S. schools that are leveraging the company’s high-speed network and mobile broadband devices for a range of purposes, including tutoring, textbook replacement and mobile Internet access at school and at home.
Noting that annual textbook costs for U.S. K-12 public schools has reached nearly $8 billion1, the FCC and the Department of Education have encouraged the country to transition to interactive digital learning within the next five years.
Today, T-Mobile’s President and CEO Philipp Humm and other industry leaders will participate in the next step of that vision by discussing -- alongside FCC and Department of Education leadership -- how technology can be leveraged and new offers created to support a widespread digital education ecosystem.
Aside: Okay, how weird is it that the CEO of a mobile phone carrier has the name Humm? Can you hear me now?
“Advancements in mobile technology are rapidly changing how and where students learn, shifting from a paper textbook in a classroom during school hours to a nearly everywhere, all-the-time digital education,” Humm said. “Our work with the FCC and others to advance the Digital Learning initiative and put devices and connectivity in the hands of students will not only help them learn more effectively, but can positively impact our country’s future economic growth.”
To further highlight the need for an expansion of mobile learning solutions and programs, the FCC asserts that approximately 100 million Americans, nearly one-third of the country, don’t have high-speed Internet at home. Unfortunately, those students without access are six to eight percent less likely to graduate than students with connectivity at home2.
Though federally funded programs, like E-rate, have helped more U.S. schools access the Internet, many do not have the connection speeds needed to deploy a successful mobile learning program3. However, today’s mobile broadband devices have the potential to close that gap, particularly with respect to connectivity, access and functionality. America’s K-12 schools are beginning to deploy these solutions and carriers like T-Mobile want to get a piece of the pie by partnering with many of them as they do so.
“Reliable connectivity and affordable data access is critical to the success of these mobile learning programs,” said Frank Sickinger, vice president, MNC and federal government sales at T-Mobile USA. Many of you will recall that I spent a fascinating hour with Frank just a few months ago.
“With highly capable mobile broadband solutions running on our high-speed, nationwide 4G network, T-Mobile is able to deliver value to these programs, impact communities across the nation, and contribute to the future of U.S. education.”
Among the successes spotlighted by Sickinger, the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township in Indiana and Illinois-based Learn Charter School Network and Youth Connection Charter Schools are all working with T-Mobile to establish innovative textbook replacement programs. In Texas, 1 to 1 Tutor Distance Learning and has deployed mobile broadband solutions to students to improve online instruction.
Similarly, Colorado’s online G.O.A.L. Academy is deploying of mobile broadband devices to at-risk students requiring online learning, tutoring and mentoring. Monterey Ridge Elementary School, a California Distinguished Award recipient, is deploying tablet solutions that allow them to enhance the digital learning experience while still utilizing existing technology and solutions, such as smartboards, digital projectors and current eLearning curriculum.
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