This week I’m attending the 27th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning, a gathering that brings together college faculty members, administrators, information technology specialists and technology companies.
The conference, held in Madison WI allows educators and others to discuss the latest in technology innovations and the best practices to implement those innovations at the university level and in other workplaces.
I’ve already discussed my presentation and listed some others in a previous post, which you can find here.
Oklahoma is doing some good things when it comes to technology at the university level and elsewhere, but the pressing question remains: Will our state be able to keep up with the latest technology in the future given its overall low Internet speed rate?
According to a report in the Huffington Post, Oklahoma has the sixth lowest Internet speed rate in the nation. This information on HuffPo comes from Pando Networks, which recently conducted a study on Internet speed rates.
Oklahoma has an Internet speed rate of 376 KBps, according to the study. By comparison, Rhode Island, which has the fastest speed, has a rate of 894 KBps. This is a sizeable difference, and it shows that Oklahoma has a real problem that needs to be addressed.
Part of the problem is surely Internet access in Oklahoma’s rural areas. What this means, on an educational level, is that some rural Oklahomans could end up in college or in life without a thorough sense of the many technology applications that are Internet based and available to them. It could also mean poor access to educational information in general. This goes beyond Facebook or Twitter. What about access to education material available for free from throughout the world? If your home computer can’t access it or the download is atrociously slow, then there’s a problem.
This is a critical issue that should be addressed more diligently by state leaders. It’s a nonpartisan issue, and improving our Internet speed rate will help the state economically. Here’s some information about Oklahoma from the Internet Innovation Alliance, which promotes broadband Internet access.
Meanwhile, the full DT&L conference gets fully underway today with sessions throughout the day, Here’s an interesting fact presented in the conference program: 4.6 million people in higher learning now take an online course each semester.