Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2019

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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BROADBAND APPLICATIONS | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 9 Educational Technology Assumes Robust Broadband What homework gap? Educational technology vendors now assume all schools and students have plenty of broadband available. Maybe the assumption will prove to be self-fullling. By Rollie Cole / Sagamore Institute for Policy Research O nce again this March, the South by Southwest organization held its four- day conference on all things new and exciting in the world of education. e coverage extended from pre-kindergarten through K–12 and higher education to lifelong adult education. I attend each year on behalf of BROADBAND COMMUNITIES to see what developments might increase the demand for broadband in homes and educational institutions. is year, I was struck by three principles that edtech vendors seem to be following. 1. ASSUME "REASONABLE BROADBAND" EVERYWHERE. About nine of 10 contestants in the student and adult startup competitions just assumed that broadband connectivity would exist, at least at a level adequate to stream video on a smartphone. e same was true of more than half the 200- plus †rms exhibiting in the convention hall. ese †rms had no plans for rural areas or poor urban areas where that assumption was not valid. In earlier years, many †rms had online and o‡ine versions of their software; not this year. e only purported "OFFline solution" I saw was a battery-powered pen for marking multiple-choice tests on paper. e pen needed a docking station with an internet connection to allow its stored results to be extracted (Anoto, A more typical example was Care2Rock (, which uses an internet connection and a standard laptop with microphone, camera and speakers to allow one- on-one remote music instruction. e †rm just assumed every potential student already had both such a laptop (which could be a Chromebook) and a "reasonable" internet connection. Another example was Literal (literalapp. com), which "chati†es" classic literature, such as "Alice in Wonderland"; that is, it turns the original text into chat posts to encourage students to absorb literature in bite-size pieces if pages and pages of words on paper are too overwhelming for them. 2. PUT AI TO USE. In earlier years, panels of experts speculated about the future uses of arti†cial intelligence (AI) in education. e one panel of that kind this year discussed how to teach AI principles to K–12 students. is year, machine learning and other AI techniques were used in many of the applications shown. Some used AI to develop an application or device. Some used AI to have the application or device respond to a student as the student used it. Some used AI to help make continuous improvement in the application or device itself. In every case, the AI database and the AI algorithms were not at the point of use but somewhere remote. e "assume reasonable

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