Google RFI for Evanston

For a few days, I've been working with Mr. Jenkins on gathering video footage for our contribution to Evanston's bid for Google's RFI for Fiber for Communities. After listening to several teachers comment on how classrooms would be affected if ultra-high speed internet connections (1Gb/s) made their way to ETHS, I was reminded of an earlier post on why I love my job based on Daniel Pink's TED talk.  When filming my segment later today, I will emphasize the following points:

Given ultra-high speed internet in the classrooms, labs, and community, students will be able to access information and advance their education on their own pace and schedule.  No longer will class hours and the school year be from 8-4pm and from late August to early June.  Learning can be 24/7, 365, and this ties well to findings that the current generation of learners tend to perform better in later hours.

With the Internet as the neverending resource of information, students now have the ability to access information that stretches well beyond the classroom.  No longer constrained by how much a teacher knows or can effectively convey in 42 minute periods, students with nearly instant access to information, and through visually stimulating means (video lectures, demonstrations, and activities) can strive to achieve mastery of content in ways never imagined before.  When shown how to access resources and how they can be reliably accessed in an instant, students will develop the desire to learn more and supplement their existing knowledge in ways previously unimagined or conceived.

Making it matter is where the teacher may have the most profound impact on students' lives.  The teacher's role in engaging students and getting them interested in the content is greatly enhanced with ultra-high speed internet.  Video conferencing with professors, researchers, and other professionals can finally improve the teacher's toolbox in answering the time-old question of "When is (insert subject) used in real life?"  Teachers can bring real people into the conversation, and students can connect, collaborate, and communicate with anyone, anywhere.  Students will be able to see and experience the impact of the material, and how the content relates to something that goes beyond the walls of the classroom and school. 

Education Everyday for Everyone
I included this phrase as part of our written response to Google's RFI, and it soon became the central theme for our video presentation.  To me, it means that education can be obtainable by anyone who wants it.  With ultra-high speed connections throughout the school and community, people from all parts of Evanston will have access to the limitless sources of information.  Our community will become a model for how learning can be attained at any time of day, at a rate previously unimaginable.  When students from all walks of life realize that their questions can be answered easily and efficiently, they will ask more questions, and from there, their quest for knowledge and their hunger for education will only continue to grow.


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