OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin launched the Oklahoma Connect and Learn Initiative Monday, a coordinated effort to bring high-speed broadband and digital learning opportunities to schools across the state. As part of the initiative, Oklahoma is partnering with interested school districts and telecommunications service providers to increase the number of schools with fiber optic connections, improve the capacity and affordability of those connections and ensure Oklahoma classrooms have Wi-Fi access to better facilitate digital learning.
“I am proud to establish the Oklahoma Connect and Learn Initiative,” said Fallin. “The initiative is a voluntary program that works with schools to use existing funding efficiently and effectively to maximize opportunities to provide high-speed broadband and Wi-Fi access to students across Oklahoma.
“This technology also creates digital learning opportunities so that every student may have a personalized learning plan that may include upper level math and science classes and concurrent enrollment courses.”
The Oklahoma Connect and Learn Initiative state team includes the governor’s office, Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services and a local school superintendent.
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and EducationSuperHighway, the nation’s leading non-profit focused on upgrading Internet access in every public school classroom in America, are providing technical assistance to the state.
“At EducationSuperHighway, we have one mission: get more students online at speeds that can support digital learning,” said Evan Marwell, founder and CEO of EducationSuperHighway. “In our modern educational environment that is imperative to ensuring students can truly access the tools and resources they need to learn and grow. No student should ever miss out on an educational opportunity because of where they go to school. That’s not fair to them, and it’s not how we will build the strong and vibrant economy we need in the years ahead.
“We are thrilled to partner with the governor in this visionary effort. We are going to get high-speed broadband into more Oklahoma schools, and it’s going to make this great state even stronger. We congratulate Governor Fallin for her leadership and can’t wait to get started.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said she is thrilled for the Education Department to play a role in an initiative as critical to student success as the Oklahoma Connect and Learn Initiative.
“Now is the time to invest in our children’s future by providing them with the tools they need to succeed in a 21st-century education,” said Hofmeister. “It is our shared goal that all Oklahoma schoolchildren become actively engaged in a connected, digital world while preparing for college and career. This initiative is an important step forward in reaching that goal.”
Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy said this initiative will be a boon to Oklahoma students.
“Access to the digital superhighway is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity,” said Murphy. “The OCC is proud to do its part to make it a reality for Oklahoma’s students.”