ZOOM ZOOM: Your awesome, "revolutionary" tool to save all of education's woes won't mean a lick if students and teachers can't load it in their browsers. That's why today (Wednesday) the EducationSuperHighway is launching its National School Speed Test to assess the quality of Internet access for K-12 schools. The non-profit org is calling on all teachers, librarians, and administrators to log in to their school network and take a one-minute test--just by simply clicking a button.
Evan Marwell, who's leading the group, says it plans to share the data with the relevant groups: schools will get their own data, districts will get the data about their schools; states will get the details on all the schools within their boundaries. Marwell says that schools are wary about publishing all the data openly and so the group is moving cautiously about how it shares the test results.
Marwell's group estimates that 80% of U.S. schools lack adequate bandwidth. "We just don't know which ones," he says. He hopes to collect 1 million points of data--10 data points for each of America's 100,000 schools.
One problem Marwell hopes this information will help resolve: that different school districts are charged different prices for bandwidth. Some schools pay $10 per megabyte/second connectivity, he says; others pay $40 for 1 MB/s. Sharing information could be a step toward resolving those discrepancies.
In addition to gathering data, Marwell hopes to jumpstart a "GeekSquad" that would serve as an expert advice squad to help schools effectively deploy bandwidth. And once the data on schools' bandwidth is compiled Marwell's team is likely to have some recommendations about how to "maximize the impact of the $2-3 billion of annual funding the FCC's E-Rate program."