Thursday, December 14, 2017

How Will Net Neutrality Impact Gig City Students?

I don't begin to understand all the political aspects of the repealing of net neutrality but I am concerned about how it will impact my students.  I'll be honest, students in Chattanooga are blessed to live in GIG CITY. Our high speed internet access makes me become a snob when I visit other cities! We have it going on when it comes to speed, and I have a need...a need for SPEED! But this isn't about me, it's about the students in the Chattanooga area. I'm here to discuss my concerns about the potential impact of repealing net neutrality and how it will impact education.

I work in a technology blessed school. We have rolling carts of iPads, Chromebooks and robots throughout our lower school and grades 5-12 are now in a 1:1 environment. Our school sees the benefit of both equipping students with digital skills and integrating technology for aspects of the next generation of education: personalization, participation, programmable, and predictive.

Here is what I have learned over the last 2 years, budgeting for educational technology isn't easy. Every year software is developed that creates an "aha" moment of "YES, this is what we need to support or learning initiatives!" Every year new devices with more bells, whistles, and capabilities hit the market. So we budget, rebudget, guess and reguess how to plan for the next year...but there is one thing we haven't had to budget on...

The cost of good streaming from individual websites. Is this going to cause a case of the haves and have nots? Will my choice to use free websites become less of an option because they cannot pay the regulators the funds needed for good streaming? OR perhaps I cannot pay for good streaming because of now needing to prioritize what we truly need access to versus what is just a want?  How will this impact my students? How will this impact the bottom line of our school's budget (which directly impacts my students)? How will this impact things student do at home? Will we have to change our expectations regarding homework?

As I said before, I do not begin to understand the pros and cons on each side of this discussion but as an education I worry about how the repeal will impact the use of technology in education. What are you thoughts on this?