Blog // Connected Tennessee

Nearly 1.6 million Tennesseans Go Online to Access E-learning Applications

By CTN Staff

From Dev Joshi and Travis Lane, Research Analysts:

Academic success is fundamental to Tennessee’s ability to compete in a knowledge-based global economy. According to Governor Bill Haslam, “Tennessee’s best long-term job growth strategy is to improve the education we offer Tennesseans and ensure they are prepared to compete in the 21st Century workforce.”

According to Connected Tennessee’s 2011 Residential Technology Assessment, 41% of Tennessee Internet users (or nearly 1.6 million adults) take online classes or use the Internet to conduct research for schoolwork. These online educational tools, commonly referred to as e-learning, are empowering Tennessee’s educators and students as they prepare for a workplace that requires both a better-educated and differently-educated workforce. Tennessee still has work to do in utilizing these opportunities, though, as 44% of the residents living in the ten states surveyed by Connected Nation in 2011 report accessing e-learning applications, significantly higher than Tennessee.

As the FCC’s National Broadband Plan cautioned, merely providing access to e-learning opportunities is not enough to produce greater student achievement. Access needs to be combined with appropriate online learning content and teacher training and support. 

However, initiatives like Tennessee’s Electronic Learning Center (ELC) confirm that the state is on the right track. The ELC provides Tennessee’s students, parents and educators access to learning and professional development resources anytime, anywhere, as long as they have access to broadband Internet. Through collaboration with Apple, Inc. and the Tennessee Board of Regents, the ELC is designed to enhance educational achievement by providing access to more than 280 curriculum-based audio and video tracks developed by the Tennessee Department of Education.

For educators, access to broadband and the ELC enables them to benefit from online professional learning communities, lesson development, and certified professional development opportunities. Further, expanded coursework made available by broadband connections at school and at home provide Tennessee students living in low-income urban districts and rural districts the same opportunities as those in wealthier districts, although they may lack local, high quality learning opportunities. In fact, the Connected Tennessee report also found that students living in rural Tennessee were more likely to utilize their home Internet service for schoolwork than those living in urban Tennessee (59%, compared to 53% among urban households with children).

Do you know of any educators that have championed e-learning for your community? Let us know in the comments. To learn more about Tennessee broadband news and state initiative programs, visit the Connected Tennessee website or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!


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