The Obama administration yesterday unveiled plans (pdf) to vastly improve broadband delivered to K-12 students. The initiative aims to roll out 100Mbps Internet (up to 1Gbps where possible) to public schools within the next five years and all supposedly without the need for Congressional approval.
Alongside the delivery of faster Internet, ConnectED promises to train educators on how to incorporate it (and other technologies) into their classroom. The White House believes its plan will also help public schools save money by facilitating "educational devices" -- suggesting the use of tablets and e-readers instead of traditional text books.
"We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology," said President Obama. "So today, I’m issuing a new challenge for America – one that families, businesses, school districts and the federal government can rally around together – to connect virtually every student in America’s classrooms to high-speed broadband internet within five years, and equip them with the tools to make the most of it."
Rural areas often lag behind the most in terms of connectivity, according to the White House. The administration claims that fewer than 20 percent of educators believe their school's Internet connectivity is able to meet their needs.
Funding for ConnectED appears to be coming from the Universal Service Fund, a pool of cash primarily designated to broaden and improve communications access. The USF is paid for by taxes levied on telecommunication companies, but that cost is often directly passed onto consumers in the form of a USF fee or charge. The White House admitted on Wednesday that its plan could bump USF fees on phone bills up another 40 cents per month, or about 5 dollars per year.
The FCC has been asked to leverage its existing E-Rate program for schools -- the initiative responsible for getting Internet into the classrooms originally -- to help roll out ConnectED over the next five years.
The Apple iPad (3rd-gen) includes a Retina Display operating at a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. Powering the new iPad is a dual-core A5X processor with quad-core graphics, it also gets upgraded optics in the form of a 5MP backside illuminated sensor that features a 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the A5X chip. Apple claims The new iPad is good for 10 hours of battery life and nine hours when using 4G LTE.
The iPad mini is a smaller version of the iPad and it’s much more than just a shrunken-down iPad. The iPad Mini packs a dual-core A5 processor, dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, a FaceTime HD camera, 5-megapixel rear iSight camera with 1080p recording and an optional LTE radio. The Mini sports a 7.9-inch display and 1,024 x 768 resolution. Battery life is estimated at 10 hours.
The Google Nexus 7 is the first Google tablet and is manufactured in partnership with Asus. It features a 7-inch 1280 x 800 display and a Tegra 3 SoC which itself comprises a quad-core CPU and twelve-core GPU. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, also you get a front-facing camera and ships with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system.
The Google Nexus 10 features Android 4.2 with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 chip paired with 2GB of RAM, as well as a 10-inch screen at 2560 x 1600 resolution, clocking in at 300ppi. There’s also a 5MP camera on the back, a 1.9MP camera on the front, and a battery that Google says runs for 9 hours. Other features include microUSB, Micro HDMI and not one but two NFC chips.
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