Today, David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation, participated in an Education and Technology panel at NCTA’s The Cable Show 2013 in Washington, D.C. with Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education; John Danner, Co-Founder & CEO of Zeal; and Valyncia Hawkins, 5th Grade Teacher at Anne Beers Elementary School; and was moderated by Gloria Borger, Chief Political Analyst for CNN.
After Secretary Duncan delivered his keynote speech regarding blended classrooms and Comcast and the Cable industry’s commitment to closing the digital divide, moderator Gloria Borger posed the question, "You’ve heard the challenges the Secretary laid out for Cable, you’ve heard the challenges for making broadband accessible, but are we really succeeding here?"
David responded, "Solving the problems of education are not one-offs. It requires an integrated solution that goes from the beginning of a child’s education through…graduation…while providing support for the kids and their parents. You can’t just attack one piece of this problem and expect to be able to make a difference." He continued by saying, "The cable industry has a unique role to play. Those challenges are all challenges where not only are we doing things, but we can do more. I’d like to see what we at Comcast…and all of us in the Cable industry can do to advance that agenda."
As highlighted by 5th grade teacher Valyncia Hawkins, the Internet is no longer used as just a tool in schools. Teachers want to integrate resources on the Internet into homework assignments but are hesitant due to the fact that a majority of their students may not have Internet access at home and will then fall behind their classmates. That is why Comcast created its Internet Essentials program in an effort to narrow that divide, and the Company has already connected more than 150,000 families, or approximately 600,000, low-income Americans to the Internet.
John Danner also recognized Internet Essentials and noted that teachers are adapting to this new world, but continue to need affordable software and tools. Another concept revolutionizing the education industry is digital textbooks, which Secretary Duncan has called for as a replacement for print in the upcoming years. Secretary Duncan explained that most schools operate on a seven-year textbook adoption cycle that cannot keep up with constantly changing content, and digital textbooks could be the solution to outdated and expensive texts. David added that digital textbooks are not just an electronic form of the same material; rather, "with electronic textbooks you can make the lessons more vibrant and understandable."
Today’s panel raises the level of awareness about this important topic. Getting more students and families across America connected to the transformative power of the Internet is everyone’s job, and we look forward to working with the White House, the FCC, and other policymakers and industry participants toward this goal.