In my last post, I was struck by something that had not even crossed my mind. How do we make technology affordable for ALL students. The frequency of computers and lap tops is growing, but it would be unfair to make assumptions that all students have access to one. So where is the golden ticket for these kids to still get a fair education?
Maine Learning Technology Initiative has a program that is available involving free dial-up home internet access. This is available under the same conditions for students who are eligible for the free or reduced lunch price. “This service has been provided through a cooperative agreement between Great Works Internet and the Maine Learning Technology Foundation, a privately funded non-profit set up to support ancillary services associated with MLTI” (2009).
Now with internet available for students, what is there to do about affording a computer? There is an organization out there called OLPC, or One Laptop Per Child. “OLPC’s mission is to create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children, but providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop. Ot this end, we have designed hardware, content and software for collaborative, joyful, and self-empowered learning. With access to this type of tool, children are engaged in their own education, and learn, share, and create together. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future” (2011).
So how far are these little green computers changing the lives of children? There are stories for students in India where attendance is near 100% since receiving the laptops. There are stories from Paraguay where the focus is inspiration. Some stories come from Afghanistan where lap tops are inspiring young women. These little green computers are spreading and offering new opportunities. Take the time to look at a story and see how it much more it makes you appreciate your laptop. Take the time to choose a story and write about it. It is organizations like this one that are making it possible for technology to exist in the classroom for our future students.