At Qualcomm, our mission is to expand 5G to meet society’s needs and help industries take the next big leap forward. One of the most important sectors that stands to benefit from the promises of this new generation of wireless is education. The pandemic exposed the depth of a digital divide that’s long existed in education, known as “the homework gap,“ and it accelerated the urgency for equitable solutions.
Many of these challenges arise from a lack of reliable access to broadband in underserved or rural communities, which directly impacts a student’s education in various ways. While these challenges are mounting, 5G is designed to directly address the root of the problem, and it’s Qualcomm 5G breakthroughs paving the way for transformation in education.
Understanding the achievement gap
Across the world, students are struggling to gain access to vital educational tools, and teachers are often under-equipped to provide the resources their students need. This is especially true in rural communities where broadband connectivity access is extremely limited. Additionally, underserved communities in urban neighborhoods may have broadband, but lack the speed and reliable connectivity to ensure all students and educators are able to use it at the same capacity. These inequities have contributed to the widening achievement gap between students who do not have basic access to digital resources and those who are privileged to have it. In our current climate of mostly remote learning, reliable connectivity has never been more vital for students to continue their education.
The good news is that the technology to help exists. 5G is so inspiring for our future because it can address these problems at their core. Qualcomm Technologies engineers have anticipated these needs, and so 5G technology is designed to provide students and educators the connectivity needed to not only help alleviate these inequalities but also deliver new experiences, such as in-depth remote collaboration, broader access to classes with top-rated teachers, and creative virtual lessons. Just as the pandemic has accelerated the need to address the inequities in education, 5G can accelerate transformative solutions.
How 5G can help
5G is all about delivering reliable, lightning-fast speeds and increased data capacity on a massive scale. These benefits together can make a dramatic difference in digitally equipped classrooms and remote learning settings. For example, faster download speeds and easy transfer of large amounts of data can allow students to collaborate digitally from their homes on complex projects such as 3D drawings in near-real time. Students can also enjoy shared interactive experiences remotely like virtual field trips.
Access to next-generation computers, such as Always On, Always Connected PCs powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platform, combined with the power of 5G will create a connected technology environment, so students and educators can work closer together on class assignments or immersive lessons. Additionally, 5G can allow for IoT connectivity, streamlining administrative processes such as attendance monitoring. We can imagine these exciting new experiences because we are leading the expansion of 5G based on decades of investment and invention in 5G foundational technologies.
Perhaps most importantly, 5G can provide a cost-effective way to deliver fiber-like internet speeds wirelessly to institutions such as schools, addressing some of the “last mile” challenges in rural areas via Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). FWA enables extremely high-speed broadband in rural areas where fiber connections can be too cost-prohibitive to establish. In addition, 5G’s greater bandwidth capacity can provide a reliable connection even in densely populated areas with massive numbers of devices all trying to connect simultaneously. In other words, whether a student is in a remote area or a densely packed community, equal access to digital resources can be supported by 5G.
Innovation in education is only as good as its availability and accessibility to the students who need it most. This is something I’m deeply passionate about, as is this company. We understand that expanding 5G is more than bringing new tools to the table; it’s about technology companies and government leaders working collaboratively to ensure that the benefits of 5G technology are accessible and equitable. No matter where they live or what challenges they face, students and teachers should be able to step through the doors that 5G opens. Qualcomm believes in enriching lives and transforming industries, and doing so means investing in innovative technologies like 5G for the benefit of all.
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