New York City will invest $650 million over the next five years to wire the city’s schools with new hardware to increase student connectivity, while investing another $20 million this year on new devices and software to help improve student learning.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the investments last week at New York’s annual Internet Week as efforts to help close the achievement gap and better students’ lives in all five boroughs.
“The technology in our classrooms has to keep pace with the real world. The ability of our kids to succeed and compete depends on it,” de Blasio said. “That’s why our budget makes strategic investments to link our schools to the innovators that drive our tech ecosystem, creates career pipelines from our high schools to top-tier firms and exposes kids to the latest technology from the time they start pre-K to the day they graduate college.”
There are a number of other education technology investments the city will make over the coming year as highlighted in the city’s budget. They include:
Increasing enrollment in comprehensive computer science education: In the coming school year, the city will double the number of students participating in the software engineering pilot to 2,800. The program entails a multi-year sequential curriculum spanning grades six through 12 that provides students with deep experiences in computer programming, web development and physical computing. The partnership with CSNYC will put students on course to take the AP computer science exam and move into the tech workforce.
Increasing teachers’ technology expertise: The city Department of Education’s Division of Teaching and Learning, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is working to ensure teachers and school leaders can discover high quality resources and engage in online and blended courses to support their students in the classroom and their own professional growth. Through a further partnership with Code.org and CSNYC, the iZone’s Blended Learning Institute will prepare and support 120 teachers by 2015 with implementing a nationally recognized introductory computer science curriculum.
Increasing higher education STEM programs: The city will invest an additional $20 million in the coming fiscal year to expand STEM programs at CUNY community colleges, reaching 5,000 students in the first year.