The Integrated Studies of Educational Technology

Research Report

The Integrated Studies of Educational Technology

A Formative Evaluation of the E-Rate Program (Draft)

Abstract

The E-Rate, created by Congress as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-104), is a federal program that seeks to bridge this "digital divide" by supporting broader public access to the new digital technology at public and private nonprofit educational institutions. The availability of such public access points has been found to reduce economic and racial disparities, and some research suggests that when used by trained and well-supported teachers, technology can improve learning, especially for disadvantaged children. This study focuses on two main questions: (1) To what extent is the E-Rate helping to equalize access to the types of digital technology eligible for program discounts? (2) Are schools and teachers able to use the technology that E-Rate supports? How is it being used in the classroom?

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