What is ConnectHome?

These days many families are connected to the internet and have instant access right inside their own home. But what about the families who are not always connected? What about Low Income/Public Housing residents?

In 2015, President Barack Obama announced ConnectHome, an initiative with communities, the private sector and federal government to expand high-speed broadband to more families across the country. ConnectHome was launched in twenty-seven cities and one tribal nation all over the continental United States. The City of Rockford and RHA are one of these community partnerships.

More than 60 million Americans lack the digital literacy skills necessary to take advantage of the resources and services found on the internet, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, NTIA Broadband Adoption Toolkit (May 2013.) For this reason, Internet Service Providers, non-profits and the private sectors are offering broadband access, technical training, digital literacy, programs, and devices for residents in public housing units.

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The RHA Opportunity…

Every child should be given the same opportunity to build a brighter future and to achieve their dreams. #ConnectHome, will bring high-speed broadband access to RHA residents; those who could benefit the most from the Internet.

Connectivity, digital literacy and computers/devices are essential to full implementation with ConnectHome partners. RHA is committed to leading the implementation of ConnectHome Initiative with its community partner Comcast.

The Comcast program is called Internet Essentials and it includes:

  • Fast home Internet, a modem and WIFI connection for just $9.95 a month + tax;
  • No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;
  • A low-cost computer available at initial enrollment for just $149.99 + tax; and
  • Access to free Internet training – online, in print and in class

For more information about ConnectHome please email: connecthome@rockfordha.org

The Digital Divide

Since 1994, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has documented the large increase in access to computers and the Internet in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools (U. S. Department of Education). Suggesting that digital education is not just the future but it is the present. The biggest problem facing the current educational realm is the lack of internet access at home. According to the Pew Research Center, families that make less than $25,000 a year have significantly fewer internet users than those making $25,000 or more a year. This becomes more of an issue as children who have access to the Web and digital technology at school come home and are not able to complete their homework or other assignments.

According to Advanced Placement and the National Writing Project teachers bring a wide variety of digital tools into the learning process, including mobile phones, tablets, and e-book readers. Their survey reveals the magnitude to which digital utilities are used within the classroom:

  • 73% of AP and NWP teachers say that they and/or their students use their mobile phones in the classroom or to complete assignments
  • 45% report they or their students use e-readers and 43% use tablet computers in the classroom or to complete assignments
  • It is common for these teachers to have students access (79%) and submit (76%) assignments online

Overall, 62% of AP and NWP teachers feel their school does a “good job” supporting teachers’ efforts to bring digital tools into the learning process, and 68% say their school provides formal training in this area.  Still, 85% of these teachers seek out their own opportunities to learn new ways to effectively incorporate these tools into their teaching.

If you are interested in learning more about these statistics, read More: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/09/22/digital-divides-2015/

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