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Connecting People to the

21st Century Economy

From helping small businesses prosper to improving education to connecting individuals to jobs - tech is helping more people access and take advantage of the 21st century economy.

High-speed internet is an increasingly essential element for full participation in today’s digital world. However, 24 million Americans -- including 30 percent of rural America -- lack access to broadband internet and the opportunities it provides for growth and success.

That’s why tech is investing in broadband expansion, opening the doors of opportunity in a global economy. Whether it’s allowing someone in a rural community to get an online education at a competitive school or a good-paying job in another state through teleworking, broadband connects us to the tools and opportunities everyone needs to succeed.

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Rolling Study Halls (RSH) is a Google-led pilot initiative designed to help students with long commutes maximize the time they can spend learning via wifi-enabled school buses, computers, and on-board educators. In 2016, Google partnered with ... Read More

Rolling Study Halls (RSH) is a Google-led pilot initiative designed to help students with long commutes maximize the time they can spend learning via wifi-enabled school buses, computers, and on-board educators. In 2016, Google partnered with Caldwell County Schools (NC) and the Berkeley County School District (SC) to launch the first pilot locations, with both districts seeing improved student success and digital fluency. Expanding on that effort, Google - in partnership with the Consortium of School Networking - is bringing RSH to 12 more regions in 16 rural school districts across the country. Districts were chosen based on district leadership and need, with a focus on rural communities where daily bus commutes average 45 minutes or longer each way. The goal of the program is to extend the learning day by recapturing “lost” learning time spent traveling to and from school and to improve academic outcomes with a goal of reclaiming more than 1.5 million hours for thousands of students by the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Kaelyn

Living in the foothills of North Carolina, 14 year-old middle school student Kaelyn enjoys the many upsides of her rural hometown—among them, being able to walk to a neighbor’s house for a cup of sugar, or seeing farm animals wandering along the roadside. The downsides? An hour-long bus ride to school, and limited access to broadband outside of the classroom.

Today, 70 percent of teachers assign homework that requires the internet, yet 1/3 of students do not have access at home. Teachers know that students without home Wi-Fi can fall behind, not being able to cement the day’s lessons in their own time. But with Rolling Study Halls, Kaelyn is keeping up with her school work on the interstate and country roads around home. Through this program, Google provides school buses with Wi-Fi access and personal devices such as laptops and tablets, and even an onboard educator.

Now, Kaelyn can be productive on her hour-long bus ride. “With Rolling Study Halls, I’m able to get most of my homework done before I even step foot in the door,” she said. It's improved her performance in the classroom, too. She went from making a C to an A in class, and has her sights set on a career as a lawyer.