As a parent, I have recently been preparing my children to go back to school – getting them back on a normal schedule (the hardest part); helping them organize their rooms; and of course, shopping for and buying school supplies. I make sure they have backpacks, pencils and pens, books for reading, and fun items like art supplies. They are excited about back-to-school shopping. It is like Christmas in August! We try to save money on supplies by starting our shopping early, purchasing clothing on tax-free weekend, and looking for clearance deals. Paying less on school supplies empowers and enables me to get my children involved in fall sports and extracurricular activities without going over our family budget.
Working with a budget also allows us to have high-speed Internet at home. My children still use technology more at home than they do in the classroom, but they are often using it to learn important skills such as conducting research for projects, accessing spelling and math websites recommended and tracked by their teachers, and more. These are skills that enhance their work at school and will later transfer to the workplace. With this in mind, it is very important for children to have access to technology at school as part of their education! Teachers equipped with adequate technology tools have the opportunity to provide and encourage personal interaction, classroom and grade-level collaboration, and the use of digital versus paper resources. I would like to see my children learn in classrooms equipped with high-speed Internet and/or WIFI, phones and mobile devices, school-owned laptops and tablets, and new technologies. I would like them to learn more about science, reading, and math. I want them to gain experience through projects and reports. I would like them to be motivated, engaged, and required to plan ahead. Each year, the way my children learn changes dramatically as they develop new skills and techniques. Schools need to be able to adapt to educate all children in the face of changes to learning and technology, so that students are prepared to leave the classroom for careers.
Saving money on back-to-school shopping is comparable to how E-rate helps schools. The less money the schools have to spend out of their own budgets to provide the technology their students and teachers need, the more they will have in their budgets to focus on other equally important items (new equipment, facilities, staff, supplies, professional development, curriculum, etc.). If a school is well-equipped with technology, students will feel empowered to learn. This, in turn, will improve their performance. I am glad to see the E-rate program preparing to change to meet the growing technology demands of our nation’s schools and libraries as my children prepare to return to school, and I am pleased that the FCC is stepping up to help schools afford to do more.
Funds For Learning® has more information about the changes coming to E-rate. To learn more, click here.