How Fast is Your Machine?
Do you have any idea what your upload and download speeds are for your computer, or more important, the computers in your schools? And, does anyone have a clue about broadband capability in schools across the country, on a school by school basis? Maybe, maybe and no. We all know how important broadband connection speed is in the classroom. When it is slow and students are nodding off waiting for a page to load, it's a problem to say the least. Come 2014-15 it is even more of a concern as everyone rolls into online assessments. Delays not only can affect student attention, they could potentially affect delivery of the online assessments. Knowing the upload and download speeds of the computers now will help school district personnel understand where they need to be over the next few years.
That is why SETDA is providing a free Internet Broadband Speed Test Tool on the assess4ed.net site. I am sure you have seen it in the upper right corner of the home page. The tool will provide real time information on broadband speed and quality and it is simple to run from any computer or device.
As for anyone having a clue as to the broadband capability in schools across the country, this tool can help. Users in schools will be able to select their school from the NCES list of schools. Once they run the tool, data will be collected into a publically available data set that will be updated daily and eventually displayed on a national map. Over time, the data set and map can provide valuable information to policymakers, researchers and companies in the private sector and may assist in driving additional broadband to those areas sorely lacking.
To be clear: no personally identifiable information is collected as part of this test, and your IP address will not appear in the public data set.
Run the tool on your machine but more importantly, encourage schools to run the tool. The more data, the more power to use the data to advocate for more broadband - something virtually all schools need.