An effective digital learning transition requires that students and teachers in every school have ready access to the technology required for digital teaching and learning. While North Carolina has made great progress in providing broadband access to all schools, further work is needed to provide Wi-Fi networks within schools and connected devices for all students and teachers.

The map pictured shows the percentage of teachers, by district, who report that they have sufficient access to instructional technology. As in other data relevant to digital learning, these show a wide range of responses across districts, with only a few coming close to meeting the technology needs of their students and teachers.

Proportion of teacher respondents who Agree or Strongly Agree that teachers have sufficient access to instructional technology, including computers, printers, software and internet access.

Proportion of teacher respondents who Agree or Strongly Agree that teachers have sufficient access to instructional technology, including computers, printers, software and internet access.

Recommendations

Goals

Expand the School Connectivity Initiative to provide and support broadband access, internal networks, and related services to all schools, while planning for increased bandwidth demands, replacement of outdated equipment, increased network engineering support, and ongoing funding. All schools have sufficient network capacity to fully support digital learning in all classrooms and workspaces by 2018.
Sustainable funding and processes are available to maintain well-functioning networks in all schools thereafter.
Provide guidance to inform local decision makers about purchasing networks, supporting infrastructure, and devices. Ongoing increases are found in (a) teachers’ and students’ ratings about their access to technologies, and (b) the number of schools that provide devices to every student.
Establish a statewide cooperative procurement service for networks, devices, and digital content. Cost savings are obtained through economies of scale purchasing for both equipment and digital content.
Participate in multi-agency efforts to provide broadband access for all homes. All Districts are able to address community and home access to ensure digital resources are available to all students.

Supporting Documents

2017 Legislative Update – School Connectivity Initiative

Infographic: E-Rate Modernization Yields Results in North Carolina

2015 Wireless Update

In early 2015, the NC Ed Cloud team provided an update to the NC State Board of Education on RFP Information, E-Rate Filing Information, USED Amendment, Who/What/When/Where for those schools being considered.

Wireless Infrastructure Plan

The plan presented in this report builds upon the success of the prior School Connectivity Initiative (SCI), established in 2007, which has provided high­speed Internet access to every K­12 public school in the state. SCI is designed to increase Internet capacity to each school as demand grows, to ensure adequate connectivity for all students to benefit from digital learning. However, many schools lack the internal network infrastructure (commonly referred to as “Wi­Fi”) required to fully leverage the provided Internet connectivity. So while adequate Internet access may reach the school building, it does not reach each student or even each classroom. The goal of this Wireless Infrastructure Plan is to provide a roadmap that outfits every school with the internal network required to support the full use of digital tools and resources within all classrooms and other spaces in which teaching and learning takes place.

2015 Category II Statewide RFP

This RFP, released for the 2015-2016 E-Rate cycle, provides for statewide bidding for school wireless connectivity.

2015 School Connectivity Initiative Report

This annual report, submitted to the North Carolina General Assembly in early 2015, demonstrates how the School Connectivity Initiative (SCI) continues to deliver high quality Internet access, client network engineering services, E-rate support, and funding that benefit all NC public schools.

School Wireless Infrastructure Data

These data were collected from all schools in order to determine the current status of wireless access in North Carolina, and to evaluate the impact of E-Rate modernization on NC Public Schools and on cooperative procurement. Wireless Infrastructure Survey Sent to Schools, both in Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 (Blank, PDF) Budget Summary to Estimate Program Costs, Based on 2014 Free/Reduced Lunch Data (PDF) Summary.