This week CoSN (Consortium of School Networking) hosted its 2018 Conference in Washington, D.C. under the theme of Exponential Change: Designing Learning in the 4th Industrial Revolution (the technology revolution and age of artificial intelligence), during which it released the 2018 K-12 IT Leadership Report. CoSN serves school technology leaders with a mission to empower educational leaders to leverage technology and is one of our nation’s premier organizations to identify, trend, and advocate for the technology needed to support the educational sector. In the Report, CoSN highlights that the top 2 issues confronting IT Tech Leaders are broadband and network capacity and cybersecurity. The top concern remained budgetary constraints.
The CoSN’s 2017 Annual Infrastructure Survey Report, also identified that one of the most significant barriers to increased connectivity is due to budget constraints, despite the fact that there remains a downward trend in the price of broadband overall. This is countered as a result of increased use of Cloud based services, online digital learning and assessments, and 1:1 devices. To help shore up some of those budget concerns, 79% of the respondents rely on FCC E-Rate funding. In the 2017 E-Rate Trends Report by Funds for Learning, one of the nation’s lead consulting firms for E-Rate applicants, 84% of respondents identified E-Rate as being vital to their organizations Internet connectivity goals. Unfortunately, however, while E-Rate funds high speed data connectivity, funding falls woefully short on cybersecurity and redundancy.
As we look to the horizon on E-Rate funding, which was recently set by the Federal Communications Commission at $4,062,030.726 for 2018, it will become increasingly important to align the key issues facing our nation’s technology leaders with adequate future funding to ensure that our children and educators are prepared and equipped with the training and tools for the coming of the 4th Industrial Revolution.