FCC to unveil new push for digital learning

The FCC program syncs with a broader effort by the administration to get the whole country connected to mobile broadband. President Obama says wireless connectivity is key to competitiveness and a boon to education, innovation and the economy.

President Obama said in his State of the Union this year that spreading wireless connectivity is crucial because it allows a student to “take classes with a digital textbook.”

The FCC’s pilot effort—the “Learning On-The-Go” wireless program—will provide $9 million for 35,000 students across 14 states. 

If the projects are successful, the FCC could begin a process to expand the idea to more institutions, an FCC spokesman said.

One program will provide all 5th grade teachers in Katy, Texas, with access to smart phones with classroom management capabilities. The teachers can upload assignments to a server where students can log-in to receive teacher updates. 

Third through sixth graders in New Orleans, La., will get access to wireless data cards. A program in Jacksonville, N.C., will deploy applications to target the math and science skills of at-risk students. 

The pilot program received 95 applicants altogether. It will initially fund wireless broadband for ten laptop programs, two virtual schools, three handheld device programs, and five technology programs. 

Genachowski will announce the effort at an event on Wednesday, joined by Sharon Greenberger, the chief operating officer at the New York City Department of Education.


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