What is Datacasting?
Datacasting is a term derived from ‘data’ and ‘broadcasting’. While broadcasting refers to sending programming through TV broadcast signals across a region that is picked up by an antenna and displayed on televisions, datacasting technology converts a portion of the same TV broadcast signals to offer a secure, one-way transmission of data to a Wi-Fi enabled device. Datacasting technology has been used for decades as a means to support public safety and provide important information to the general public in emergency situations. However, South Carolina was the first state to use datacasting for education.
South Carolina’s bold and innovative initiative in using datacasting technology is providing a much needed means to bridge the digital divide for South Carolinians needing access to learning at home. Using datacasting to provide instructional content to learners, with little to no internet access, is a significant development that has the potential to bring a world of learning to everyone in our state.
What Does Datacasting Provide Users?
Datacasting is currently a one-way interaction, making for a safe learning experience for children and adults alike. Research and design are underway to develop an integrated return path that facilitates two-way interaction, potentially allowing learners to send completed work/assignments back to their instructor as necessary.
In order to receive files via datacasting, a student needs a Wi-Fi enabled device (i.e., cell phone, computer, tablet, etc.), as well as an inexpensive antenna and receiver. No internet access is required.
Any type of file (jpg, PDF, mp4, etc.) can be transmitted via datacasting. This means the possibilities of creating and packaging content designed for learning at all ages are limitless. School districts have shown how invaluable this technology can be for students. Teachers can send a variety of instructional items, including recorded lectures, live lectures, problem sets, reading units, lesson plans, quizzes, tests, and a host of classroom assignments to all students, with the confidence that no student will be unable to receive the necessary content. Datacasting is providing a solution to homes with limited to no internet access across the state, helping our students continue to have a rigorous, safe learning environment at home.