It’s not just bandwidth, it’s what you do with it that matters

Wesley Fryer recently posted his thoughts on how access to high-speed Internet can and should change a small community. He said:

Access to high speed Internet access IS critical, but I keep thinking that the question we need to be asking in educational technology circles is, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR BANDWIDTH? Sure people can check stocks, sports scores, log in to check bank balances and other web-enabled administrative tasks– but what about content creation? The article mentions a small town resident who is so frustrated with the speed of dial-up Internet that she doesn’t bother uploading images or sending them to friends and family. I can relate. No doubt, Berry, Kentucky and every other small community around the globe needs to have available access to high speed Internet. But access alone is woefully inadequate, especially if a community is looking to turnaround longstanding trends of population losses to urban centers, as Berry evidently is.

My suggestion for the community would be to adopt a radically different educational curriculum approach. Rather than having students merely consume and regurgitate the traditional curriculum as everyone in their school system has doubtless been attempting to do for decades, adopt an innovative approach which focuses on project-based learning and students regularly creating authentic knowledge products which reflect their learning and understanding. Have the students regularly use technology to create digital stories and collaborative products like wiki pages which are accessible for a global audience. Embrace the idea that to become media literate and technologically powerful, students must WRITE THE WEB and not merely read and access it.

What do you think? Is the Allen County Education Network having an impact on learning? What more could we/should we do to support teaching and learning with this incredible resource?

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