The Internet is an integral part of modern education, and not only provides many different elements of supplemental education — video tutorials, instructional websites, etc. — it also is necessary for specific fields of study, like programming. The problem is that many public schools in the United States (approximately 80%) do not have adequate broadband speeds, something that a non-profit recently backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg wants to change.
Specifically, the $9 million in funding announced by non-profit EducationSuperHighway was greatly helped by the Gates Foundation and Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education, as well as others that also backed the company. With the funding, the non-profit entity will be splitting its focus into a few different areas: speed testing, increased outreach, team expansion, lobbying, and improvement of its own portal.
The EducationSuperHighway provides a speed test that will, with this funding, be available to schools in every state for determining Internet speeds. The schools can then reach out to the ESH in the pursuit of getting faster Internet speeds, among other things. The ultimate goal is for K-12 schools across the nation to achieve a higher overall speed that facilitates education.
Said Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway, to the folks at Tech Crunch: “If you had a highway with only one lane, it wouldn’t work as well as one with five lanes. And this is a fairly consistent problem in rural, urban and suburban America. Over 40 million students are being left behind without the Internet access and WiFi they need to take full advantage of digital learning.”