COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster announced the state will be investing $1.3 million to expand datacasting through South Carolina Educational Television, or SCETV.
Datacasting is a technology that has existed for a decade to assist with emergency management and requires an antenna to be set up in a home to receive one-way transmission of instructional content.
“The opportunity now exists to use datacasting to deliver lessons, assignments, and educational content to students with limited or no internet access,” said Gov. McMaster during a press conference Tuesday.
He said approximately 20% of South Carolina does not have internet access.
“Datacasting is not a replacement for broadband. Instead, it is an intermediate solution until broadband can be expanded,” he said.
SCETV’s broadcast signal currently covers 98% of the state. Gov. McMaster said if a student can receive the channel over the air, then datacasting is a viable option for the student to receive instructional content. “We’re taking the schoolhouse to the child,” he said.
The state broadcaster is piloting the initiative in three places: Fairfield County, York County, and Jasper County school districts.
State Superintendent of Education, Molly Spearman, said South Carolina was one of 11 states that were chosen for a Rethink K-12 Education Models grant back in July, which is meant to support state’s efforts to create new innovate ways to get students to continue learning.
“South Carolina’s three-year grant, titled ‘Return to Learn,’ was funded at $15 million and has a goal of providing all South Carolina students with high quality, robust digital education through remote learning, and through digital resources that can be accessed via myriad of platforms,” said Spearman.
She said the objective is to increase the availability of remote learning to students and teachers in areas like broadband access, improved educational resources, by developing and curating engaging, high-quality content, and increase teacher experience, confidence, and proficiency with remote learning.
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