NEW YORK, Feb. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Creating a digital learning environment is an important goal for every K12 school in America today, but what does “digital learning” actually look like – and equally important – how are K12 schools going to pay for it? Consider a school with 4,000 children all using Chromebooks to type papers; the students then print their papers and turn in a hard copy. While this is a step in the right direction, it’s not a true digital learning environment – yet. Imagine, however, taking those same students and, rather than simply writing papers on a digital device, giving each student access to Internet-based applications and online-only textbooks all at the same time, all day long, every day. As the students submit assignments directly to the school’s online learning management system (LMS), teachers have a real-time window into each student’s individual progress and can take proactive steps to help a student who is struggling. Delivering this kind of personalized digital learning experience begins with the right infrastructure, and that costs money – often millions of dollars – to implement. But, according to Logicalis US, an international IT solutions and managed services provider (www.us.logicalis.com), “free” money is available through the federal government’s E-rate program, a 21-year-old program that has been radically modified to give every school a very real opportunity to be awarded the funding they request.
“Today, if a K12 school applies – and applies correctly – they are virtually guaranteed to get the money,” says Adam Petrovsky, GovEd Practice Leader, Logicalis US. “I would encourage every K12 CIO to re-evaluate any concerns they have about being denied or about the program being too difficult to navigate. E-rate is complicated, but with the help of an experienced consultant, you have a great likelihood of being approved. And if you think 25 cents or so on the dollar isn’t enough to cost-justify applying, on a million-dollar project – a project you will probably have to do anyway – that’s a savings of $250,000. At the district level, superintendents should evaluate both the size of their capital budgets and the capabilities of their last network upgrade to determine if, without E-rate, either are sufficient to support tomorrow’s personalized learning programs.”
E-rate is a federally funded program that assists K12 schools and libraries throughout the U.S. with procuring technology, products and services at a significant discount based on the school’s