Georgia’s Push for Educational Advancements

When it comes to the field of education, there is always a continuous push for advancements. Advancements can range from new materials to better environments suited for optimized learning. In a world where everything is moving toward a digital space, it only makes sense to incorporate better technology in the classroom. Schools across Georgia will be given funding and have the opportunity to digitally expand its classrooms using Connections for Classrooms.

The State of Georgia, with the help of Connections for Classrooms, has taken major steps toward its goal of ensuring schools and classrooms in the state have high-speed broadband access necessary for digital learning. Connections for Classrooms is a grant program that brings together agencies across the state of Georgia. The program combined money from two sources, totaling $39 million, to fund the expansion efforts for Georgia schools. The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) contributed $14 million in bond funds, and the remaining $25 million came from the One Georgia Authority at the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). These funds are eligible as a grant for schools through an application process, and this grant will finance the hardware as well as any installation and labor needed for the upgrades.

What is Connections for Classrooms?

Connections for Classrooms is just part of the statewide effort to provide a digital learning environment in classrooms. The goal is to expand high-speed broadband access, giving schools the bandwidth to operate on a sufficient network. PeachNet, a network that is part of the University System of Georgia (USG), plans to connect the state’s local educational agencies (LEA) to its high-speed network. With the partnership of USG and funding from GaDOE, this enables all of the district offices to have at least 100 megabits of bandwidth per second, per school effective July, 2015. The role that Connections for Classrooms plays is important; it will make sure all schools have this level of infrastructure to promote increased bandwidth in the classrooms.

The process was put in motion during the 2013-2014 school year, when the GaDOE gave approximately $7 million in grants to LEAs for purchasing basic equipment needed for school districts facing this transition. In the upcoming 2014-2015 school year, Connections for Classrooms will be focusing on the next levels; schools and classrooms. The purchases necessary here include equipment for installation such as ports, cabling, WAN, LAN, and wireless access points. If there are any leftover funds that remain after this phase is completed, the money will be allocated to purchasing devices and instructional materials for students.

Dates to Remember

The following dates represent milestones in this expansion process:

May 20, 2014 – Pre-application materials are released.

June 16, 2014 – The grant application will be available.

August 29, 2014 – This is the deadline for the grant application.

Late October, 2014 – Tentative grant award announcement.

ADAPTURE is a full lifecycle IT integration solution provider available through the Georgia Statewide Contract.