There's a new agenda item for the FCC, which is a bit odd, and it translates to more tax revenue required to accomplish it. The deal? Put Wi-Fi into every school in America. Yeah, it's a pretty wild idea and it drags along a bunch of questions. High speed Wi-Fi? No.....if your school is in Podunk, Bama.....you will get the regular local speed.
The tab for this? The FCC says they want one billion dollars for this. But I'm of the mind that they simply mean phrase one, and that it'll come with more cost later.
What's the typical cost per school? You can figure Barney the Geek will put down a charge of $150 for the installation team and the hour required. The router? It'll run from $90 to $150, depending on the model and degree of "thrills" you want associated with it. Administrative time? Well, yeah, you'd have to find someone to continually monitor and ensure kids and teachers weren't viewing hot lusty video movies while sitting in class. PCI-adapters for CPUs in the classrooms.....figure around $30 each. The laptops will all have Wi-Fi ability built into them. Extending the range from the head office to the farthest point of the school? You will require a 'bridge'.....figure around $80 for each one.
All of this would probably add up to $2,000 for each single school (minimal PCI-adapter strategy). Figure 98,817 schools (the government's number, not mine).
A full-time IT guy for each school? Well....if there's a thousand students there....you'd have to have one full-time guy at that school alone. A county with eight rural schools? Maybe one IT for the whole county and he's remoting into each site to control the mess. I doubt if any county would be willing to pay more than $35,000 a year to such a guy and he'll flip out of the year every year or two, with a new guy and a big mess to clean up.
Is it worth the time and trouble? I personally get see a single reason to integrate a class or lesson with computers below the seventh grade. I might offer up typing in the eighth grade, and get into spreadsheet situations and writing code by the ninth grade. Beyond that.....it's just NOT worth the effort. Kids end up abusing the hardware and software....posting constantly to Facebook while in class, and getting nuts over using video capture within the classroom.
But all of this leads back to the FCC, and it's dynamic agenda.....a billion dollars. Putting a school nurse in every school and paying for them via federal money? It ought to be a higher requirement. Putting all text books on e-readers.....ought to be on federal money. Handing out one-hundred great classic of literature via e-readers.....ought to be on federal money.
There's something wrong here, but I doubt if we can stop Congress or the Administration from spending a billion on this stuff.