OTIS, Mass. (WGGB) — High-speed internet access is now available to more Western Massachusetts towns than ever before, and schools are sure to benefit.
On Thursday, Governor Patrick lit up the room literally at the Farmington River Elementary School in Otis.
The Governor helped open the first section of a new 12-hundred mile fiber-optic network that will bring high-speed internet access to under-served areas like this one.
Students and community leaders got a first hand look at the new technology.
They were able to speak to NASA and students in Colombia, South America via Skype.
“It was just an amazing opportunity for these students,” says School Principal Mary Turo.
Students were thrilled to interact with NASA and their fellow students in Colombia, and they see high-speed internet as an important educational tool.
“It’s pretty cool. We have high-speed internet now. I remember when my dad and I had to go to the library to do homework and stuff. We had dial-up. Now we have internet we can actually use at our house,” says fifth grader Nathan Reynolds.
Evan King also feels high-speed internet will make him a better student.
“It will probably make me a better student because I can do more research about things,” says King.
Jack O’Brien was also excited about the opportunity,”My grandma has internet, so I’d always go to her house to do research and I can do more research on my computer,” he says.
Technology like this will put these students on a level playing field when it comes to getting an education and preparing for the future.
“So much of education can be enriched from online and digital content and also as a way to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math,” says Judy Dumont, Director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute.
A lesson on Thursday that took students from the rural confines of Western Massachusetts to a classroom in South America more than 2,600 miles away.