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CEO Sit-Down Interview with Dave Porter Director of Media and Network Services at the University of Rhode Island

Posted By Leticia T. O'Neill, Monday, July 27, 2015
Updated: Monday, July 27, 2015

CEO Sit-Down Interview with Dave Porter Director of Media and Network Services at the University of Rhode Island 

 

Dave Marble sits down with URI’s Dave Porter (Director of Media and Network Services and OSEHAN Board Member) to talk about where they see OSHEAN evolving over the next few years.

 

Watch here.



CEO Sit-Down Interview with Dave Porter, URI

Tags:  Network Services  Rhode Island  University of Rhode Island  URI 

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Can we be the “Biggest Little State”?

Posted By David Marble, Wednesday, June 3, 2015

 

As I write this, I am on a plane flying back from Oklahoma where I was visiting OneNet, the Oklahoma Regional Research and Education Network (REN).  I am always struck by the challenges the larger state RENs have in just reaching their member sites, not only with physical connections but with the necessary face to face sessions necessary to move projects along.  Even though I am a massive fan of technology, I still think there is strength in face to face communications.  OneNet is challenged to visit their members even once a year.  Even with videoconferencing, they are at a disadvantage compared to RI when looking at designing and implementing statewide programs and projects.  The question is, have we taken advantage?

 

I am convinced RI doesn’t view its size as an asset nor does it take advantage of what can be done given the fact that we can pretty much get anywhere in the state in 30 minutes.  We have wonderful opportunities to drive efficiency statewide leveraging our infrastructure to reduce duplication while driving use of underutilized assets.  Moreover, we have the opportunity to design new and innovative statewide services for areas like Adult Education, Healthcare and Municipalities.  Imagine if we looked at serving the 34 non-profits dedicated to educating our adult learners with proper broadband connectivity and access to a statewide learning management system and teaching tools.  Imagine a statewide healthcare network that reached nursing homes with the latest in tele-medicine technology thereby reducing ambulance rolls and emergency room visits.  Imagine helping the municipalities statewide with connectivity, consolidated hosting, on-line services and disaster recovery architectures.

 

Sometimes our size can work against us in trying to obtain grant money for connectivity.  Right now the FCC is prioritizing rural areas for investment in broadband and there is very little turf in RI classified as such.  However, that should not stop us from looking at these opportunities at a statewide level.  These types of initiatives work to the heart of topics that are on the minds of everyone I talk to here in little ole Rhody: workforce development, Improved healthcare outcomes, reduced costs and in turn, economic advantage.  I am feeling the buzz building with respect to the "can do" attitudes necessary to support initiatives like these here in the state.  I have longed for the day when we move from the proverbial "fellowship of the miserable" to this kind of optimism.  Are you detecting a change?

 

Sing with me now….”We're the biggest little state in the union, Rhode Island, Rhode Island”

Tags:  Broadband  Communications  Research  Rhode Island  Technology 

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The Pace of Technology Change

Posted By Dave Marble, Monday, December 16, 2013

I was at a school district meeting on technology the other night and one of the parents in attendance asked why her son’s teacher didn’t use the beautiful SmartBoard the school had purchased over a year ago. The discussion quickly turned to the school’s lack of resources: no training, poor planning, not enough time in the teacher’s day, etc. My thoughts, however, went elsewhere. I began ruminating on the so-called "Digital Divide” that exists between the technological haves and have-nots.

The traditional argument delineates the Digital Divide at an economic level. While economic factors can (and often do) play a role in the Divide, they are certainly not the only factors worth considering. Isn’t there also a clear divide that can exist at a generational level? Grampy will usually get his butt kicked by his 10 year old grandson in a game of Madden -- and, while my parents are overwhelmed by the Skype video call, I just wonder why this technology took 20+ years from the days when I was involved with PictureTel.

The rate of adoption for technology at an individual level is driven by a few factors, including one’s personality, education, and overall acumen. Some folks may not be self-starters or adventurous types where technology is concerned. Still others may just not have had the education necessary to get them started with new technologies. This alone can prevent them from ever turning their new SmartBoards, meaning that they miss out on hundreds of tutorial videos, and, in turn, hundreds of potential lesson plans that utilize SmartBoard features. Acumen, education, and economics go hand-in-hand. A geometry teacher with the acumen to try a flipped classroom knows whether all of his or her students have access to a computer and high-speed internet at night so they can watch their Khan Academy videos on the Pythagorean Theorem.

I recently watched an interview with a doctor who is closing his practice after 30 years because he can’t adapt to the government’s new Electronic Medical Records requirements. Much like the discussion at the school district meeting, this gave me pause. I realized that our expectations aren’t often aligned with an understanding of the Digital Divide -- so just as we expect all teachers to be using SmartBoard technology, we expect all doctors to have their records maintained electronically and accessible by any hospital. Without the proper training and resources at hand, this is neither fair to the teachers and doctors, nor the students and patients. It seems in the best interests of administrators and planners to consider this when building well-intended technology programs.

I am encouraged about the state of such things in RI. We have strong advocacy and deep technological understanding in this area at the state level, led by our friends at BroadBand RI (BBRI). To learn more, check out their policy paper here:

http://broadband.ri.gov/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Public/Broadband%20Policy%20for%20RI_letter_p4.pdf

 

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Tags:  BBRI  broadband rhode island  Digital Divide  flipped classroom  OSHEAN  Rhode Island  SmartBoards 

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