Use of broadband in K12 in SE Minnesota

Thanks to Dustin Artwohl at Video Guidance for sending me info and a video from Southland Public Schools in Adams in SE Minnesota. They talk about how they use broadband to better serve the students and save money.

Here’s the intro to the video from Ryan C. Luft, the Principal of Southland Middle/High School:

This past Monday, Southland and Leroy-Ostrander students and administration had the opportunity to show the State of Minnesota what is happening down here in education. We have been working with Riverland Community College in Austin, MN to deliver college level courses over our ITV system for our students. It has been a huge success! There was a meeting in Dover-Eyota where 7 local Minnesota Legislators, as well as many Southeastern Superintendents, met to discuss the bandwidth issues in this part of the state. We were asked to showcase what we are doing here at Southland and will be developing a model that hopefully will go region/statewide in a couple of years.

Here’s the video: 

The students are now able to take classes from Riverland Community College while staying on campus, which means the money for classes-per-student stays on campus. Also the students are able to save money themselves and avoid the hassle of going back and forth between campuses.

The school talks about how they want to take the next step – meeting the Governor’s challenge to move classes online – but lack of broadband is standing in their way. They only have a T1 and that’s not enough.

They want to share instructors and kids to help make the most of their shrinking budgets.

Students from the class talk about their experience too. You can see where paying for gas to take classes off campus is a big issue for them. Plus it’s more fun to be on campus.

Sitting in the Task Force meeting on a couple of weeks ago it struck me how quickly people were ready to say and believe that Minnesota is not underserved when it comes to broadband. I suspect that people have “broadband” though 90+ percent of the state. But as someone on the Task Force said in an aside to me – aren’t they the Ultra High Speed Broadband Task Force not the access task force?

Next month the Task Force is going to hear from K12 and other users. I hope they hear stories like this that demonstrate that adequate broadband is in the eye of the beholder. People are being hindered by slow speeds and we need to think about a policy that removes broadband as a bottleneck for innovation (for school, businesses, homes..).

FCC to remove adult filter on wireless broadband auction?

Ars Technica reported yesterday that Kevin Martin has revised the FCC free wireless broadband plan so that providers no longer have to filter out smut. So the proposal is to auction off a portion of the Advanced Wireless Services 3 band (2155-2180MHz) for a free Internet service at a minimum 768Kpbs.

Up until now the proposal has also insisted that the provide filter out adult material.

Lakewood Telemedicine Update

Our telemonitoring project is going very well with all our units in patient’s homes.  A day like today, with a winter storm blowing outside and prioritized staff visits,  highlights one advantage of telemonitoring .  Our nurses can “see” how our patients are doing by their vital signs monitor and the answers the patient gives to tailored questions like: “Are you having more problems breathing today than normal?” or ” Do you need your clinician to call you?”   The patient can be seen on days that they need to be, instead of every Monday or twice a week. 

A number of our telemonitoring patients have stated they feel more in control of their healthcare as they track their vital signs and are reminded daily which symptoms to report to the nurse.  Telemonitoring becomes part of their daily routine. 

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of presenting our telemedicine project to some of the attendees at the Connected Communities Conference in Eden Prairie.  At the conference, I had a number of session participants ask about the efficacy of telemonitoring.   Health care journals, over the last 7 years, have documented phenomenal improvements in patient outcomes through the use of telemonitoring.  The Veterans Administration has thousands of telemonitoring units across the country in veteran’s homes.  Many health insurance companies are putting their own units in patient’s homes because of the proven reduction in hospitalizations and emergent care. 

I am including some websites with research articles on the benefits of home telemonitoring.

This website: has many articles about Home Care agencies adopting telemonitoring to improve patient outcomes for people with Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and other chronic conditions. 

With the advance of technology, and broadband applications, there will be many more opportunities to make a difference with home health care.

Happy New Year!

light speed communityThe Blandin Foundation is supporting four standout broadband programs through the Light Speed program. The program’s purpose is to stimulate the deployment of bandwidth intensive applications that connect local institutions to area resident’s home. This post comes from a Light Speed community leader.

Senator Klobuchar Broadband Roundtable Notes Dec 29

klobucharHere are notes from the Broadband Roundtable meeting. Here’s the stated purpose of the meeting:

Roundtable participants will discuss the need for rural communities to have greater investment in and access to high speed broadband internet. Attendees will provide real world examples of the challenges rural communities face as well as success stories. Senator Klobuchar will discuss her priorities around “Information Infrastructure” and the Obama administrations emphasis on funding this effort.

Here are the speakers:

Here are my notes… Continue reading

Connected Nation in North Carolina

Thanks to Coralie Wilson from NSCC/CTV for sending me an interesting article on Connected Nation in North Carolina.

Connected Nation are the folks who have been hired by the state to map broadband access and use in Minnesota to help the Ultra High Speed Broadband Task Force make recommendations on the future of broadband in Minnesota. They have recently been hired by telephone and cable industry associations in North Carolina to do a similar mapping project.

The strange thing in North Caroline is that they have a local, nonprofit organization that is also tracking this information – e-NC. Apparently e-NC had not been able to get the level of detail that Connected Nation can get. There was some talk about the State funding help from Connection Nation but that didn’t get very far.

It kind of brings to the fore some of the issues that have surrounded Connected Nation. They are able to get data to a very detailed level and that’s helpful. But they are in pretty tight with the incumbents so you have to wonder how or if that taints the data they get.

Unfortunately I think this is an ongoing issue with technology – any kind of technology. The quickest and (in the short term) the cheapest way to learn about technology is to ask the vendors – but of course the vendors have a vested interest in the info they provide.

I saw how well that worked in the last Broadband Task Force meeting. The incumbents spoke and it didn’t take long for folks in the room to wonder if there was a broadband issue at all. Next month the Task Force will hear from a different sector – and it will be interesting to see how the pendulum swings.

Back to Connected Nation – I don’t know what the answer is as far as getting and deciphering help from the incumbents. You can’t work without them – but how closely should the government work with them.

Teachers don’t just know technology

Last month I mentioned the breakout session on Second Life in Schools at the Blandin broadband conference. One thing that struck me was that the teachers at the community colleges received no training in how to teach in Second Life. Maybe it works for some but I just don’t thank sink or swim approach works well for everyone.

So I was delighted today to read about how Goodhue Public Schools is handling technology in the classroom. They hired Carl Anderson, a technology integration specialist, to help teachers integrate technology into the classroom. He’s available for the teachers, he team teaches and he provides training on new tools.

What a good idea!

Ten or more years ago, I provided training to teachers on how to use the Internet. The training was free but they weren’t paid to attend. I thought that was unfair. Also while I feel like the teachers learned a lot – our computer lab was not necessarily the same setup as they would have at home or school. We weren’t on hand when they needed support mid-semester. Goodhure has a much better approach.

Having the equipment and the broadband in place is only half the battle. Teaching people how to use technology makes it accessible. Our tiny example at home – my husband (a teacher) got a cell phone for Christmas. This isn’t his first – but this time it comes with lessons from our 10 year old about how to set up and retrieve voicemail, how to text and how to set an alarm. So I have high hopes for a spouse I can reach by phone soon.

Check out the Goodhue Public Schools web site for a taste of how they are using technology.

Post your two cents to help MN budget

First – Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa and the rest. We’re living the good life here with our new Wii – thanks Santa.

Second- I found a distraction for anyone who finds themselves a fifth wheel in a home with only 4 Wii paddles. The Morris Sun Tribute just reported that lawmakers are looking for ideas to help with the state budget – you can post your suggestions online.

Here’s the blurb from the State site:


The Minnesota House of Representatives has set up this webpage to provide an avenue for you to have a say in how we confront Minnesota’s projected budget deficit which totals $426 million this biennium and $4.8 billion for FY 2010-11.

We would also appreciate any ideas you might have as to how to solve the problem. Every idea deserves to be heard. Please use the comment fields below to give us your suggestions and/or thoughts on the deficit.
We would also ask that you please provide contact information in the designated fields. We will not share this information with anyone; we would just like to be able to contact you in case we have questions about your comments or suggestions.

Thank you in advance for your input, it will be important as we work together to solve Minnesota’s budget deficit.

So it’s not broadband – but a good use of the Internet. Also I hope folks will think about any way broadband might save money and make a suggestion. (Or really any suggestion might be great. They seem to be a little stuck.)

I have to think that this is one early indicator of changes to come with President-Elect Obama, who also looks for suggestions on his site.