Archive for January 29th, 2019

Focus: Closing ‘Digital Divide’ In Public Education

January 29th, 2019 Comments off

Administrators from public school districts, technical schools and area colleges came together on Monday at the Gunzburger Building to discuss how they can capitalize on the potential of high-speed internet service to further their educational mission. A major focus of the session — jointly sponsored by the Potter County Commissioners and the Potter County Education Council — was the need to bridge the “digital divide.” That’s the gap that separates the haves from the have-nots when it comes to technology.

Among the speakers were CEO Craig Eccher (shown) and Bill Gerski from Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative. REC will begin construction of its new $77 million high-speed internet service later this year. The fiber-optic network will extend across its entire seven-county service territory, starting with the townships surrounding Coudersport. It will eventually reach nearly 1,400 customers in Potter County — 830 residential, 540 seasonal, and 13 commercial.

Following the REC presentations, separate brainstorming sessions were held. Representatives of the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College and Mansfield University were among those gathering to discuss opportunities, challenges and issues for providers of post-secondary education. A similar session focused on K-12 education was held for representatives from area school districts, Seneca Highlands IU9 and the IU9 Career and Technical Center.

Potter County Education Center executive director Dr. Michele Moore closed the session with assurances that issues that were identified during the session will be analyzed and there will be follow-up workshops to help educational institutions address the digital divide.