Institute News

President Promotes USC Shoah Foundation Partner in Increasing Internet Access

A key USC Shoah Foundation partner’s mission of upgrading public school access to broadband Internet has earned a boost from President Obama. The nonprofit organization EducationSuperHighway works to ensure that every K-12 school in the nation has the necessary capacity to fully leverage the possibilities offered by digital education and online learning. EducationSuperHighway’s advocacy was instrumental in the president’s announcement of ConnectED, an initiative to connect 99 percent of U.S. students to high-speed Internet within the next five years.

“We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology,” said President Obama in the announcement.

“When we began our work to upgrade the Internet infrastructure in every public school in America just 18 months ago, we could never have dreamed that our mission would have the backing of the president in such a short period of time,” says Evan Marwell, EducationSuperHighway founder and CEO.

Over the next two years, the EducationSuperHighway team will work implement President Obama’s call to action in ways that will bridge the digital divide for students in K-12 schools across the country. Preparing America’s students with the skills needed to succeed in the global economy of the 21st century requires not only digital literacy, but it also increasingly relies on the interactive, individualized learning experiences made possible online. However, millions of students still lack high-speed broadband access, and fewer than 20 percent of educators say their school’s Internet connection meets their teaching needs. ConnectED and EducationSuperHighway aim to bring high-speed Internet within all their reach—especially for rural schools that have lagged behind in connectivity.

The Shoah Foundation’s IWitness educational website provides an ideal example of the type of programs available to schools with sufficient digital capacity. IWitness enables secondary-school teachers and students to access nearly 1,300 life histories, testimonies of survivors and other witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides for guided exploration. Educators can build custom activities to support learners at all levels, or utilize myriad prepared activities. The program connects students with the past, engages them in the present with opportunities to build their own videos and projects, and motivates them to create a better future.