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Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in ACE Partners, ACE School Report | 0 comments

Feeling the Energy of Innovation in 2014

By Martha Sessums

The high energy I’ve experienced in the first two weeks of 2014 was amazing.

I attended the “Digital Storytelling Using Social Media” seminar at KALW’s Audio Academy last week and was impressed with the energy of the group. The teachers were young professionals who understood the importance of using social media to market not only KALW, but each journalist’s story along with the journalists themselves. That included writing lively, informative headlines that hooked the reader. Nothing new about that in journalism, but understanding that it was okay to rewrite a headline to attract the online audience was important.

The students were members of the Audio Academy, along with others from the station who were fearless life-long learners. They just wanted to learn about how social media can help KALW be a better community-oriented radio station and broaden the touch with its listeners – or customers.

The next day, I attended a speech by Tom Wheeler, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC.) In a way, he is ACE’s boss, as ACE’s assigned Educational Broadband Spectrum was allocated by the FCC. I was impressed with Wheeler’s understanding of today’s technology challenges and opportunities.

He understands that a chokepoint in the spectrum network is old FCC analog rules managing the new digital network; that in the new digital environment, the standard 6MHZ of electromagnetic spectrum (the old amount required to transmit an analog waveform that was one channel) can support multiple television (or broadband) channels. “Analog concepts are no longer valid today,” he said. To that end, he promised opening spectrum capacity through auctions that will benefit both the current and new licensees. The result of this and other planned actions will speed the transition to an all IP network.

The result: room to take advantage of new technologies that will “ride on the air.” This means room for broadband networks that will deliver video-intense curriculum to schools using tech devices. It’s the stuff that the ACE Partner Schools are doing in their classrooms of blended-learning and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math.)

Today’s education is about broadband delivery. The market for ed-tech is expanding and Internet delivery and access is key. The call for spectrum access is expanding and the FCC’s spectrum transition is key. “It’s how students will use technology to get a 21st century education,” said Wheeler.

The blurred lines between my two days? Broadcasters are not just broadcasting any more – they are finding new media ways to touch customers. The FCC recognizes the need to support changes in technology as current and potential licensees reach for those new connections with their customers. And ACE Partner Schools continue to touch their customers (the students) with new ways of learning using these connections. It’s about the energy in innovation.

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