Did You Find The Golden Ticket?

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.

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About heyamoose12

I am a Secondary Education major with a focus in English. I swim for the University of Maine and love to sketch and write on the side. I am a huge movie fan and love to go out with friends!
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4 Responses to Did You Find The Golden Ticket?

  1. krislynh says:

    I really enjoyed this post. Goodness, OLPC could use you as a spokesperson! You really expressed how inspiring and exciting this program is. Through our EDT 400 class we are learning how wonderful technology can be for our learning, so it is great to see that there are others who understand this too and want to spread the wealth of knowledge. Perhaps if schools around here start to hear stories about how in countries all over the world students are truly benefitting from utilizing the available technology, teachers and professors won’t be so hesitant about including them in their classrooms.

  2. jennasem says:

    I really enjoyed your post Linda. It’s so great that underprivileged children get to receive such a wonderful experience and opportunity. I just have one concern– what about those children here that just miss the cut for free/reduced lunch? I have always been that child– the one who’s parents make JUST enough to miss the “cut-off” for any help towards financial situations. My parents can not afford half of the things that society believes we should be able to afford, plus I have a younger brother, so any “extra” money does not just go towards me. So what about kids like this? They miss out on this opportunity to expand their learning and become familiar with technology and the upcoming world all because they can’t afford it but they don’t get help because they supposedly can afford it? I believe what MLTI is doing is outstanding, but I also believe that this service should be available to anyone– maybe not personally– but why not have a computer center at school that is accessible to all? I think there is more that can be done for those students who fall inbetween… what do you think? Is there something being done that I just missed?

  3. heyamoose12 says:

    I agree with you on how difficult it would be for students that miss the cut off. Another concern that would be mine however is how recognizable these little green machines are. Imagine yourself back in high school where self esteem is rather sensitive, and your classmates recognize your computer as part of the “low income status.” The argument could be made that the students should appreciate being given a computer, but at a time in high school, standing out because of income is the last thing a lot of students want to deal with.

    I think that this is hard to say who is eligible and who is not. It is like when we find ourselves in classes and a B- is a 80.0 and you receive a 79.9. There will always be boarder line cases. There will always be the problem and moral debate of denying a student, the 79.9, into a program that requires a 80. If the 79.9 gets in, then what about the 79.8’s? It is such a sensitive subject.

  4. jennasem says:

    Very true! I never even thought to use the analogy of the grades! You’re definitely right, it is a very sensitive subject. And your concern about the laptops being recognized as “low income status” is a definite one, no matter how much people would try to deny it. It’s a shame that there are so many situations that can alter the way people look at you and treat you, even if you have the “same stuff”.

    I also agree with krislynh. I wish more teachers would incorperate technology into the classroom, and I would hope that in seeing all there is to offer with laptops and their programs (here and afar) that sooner or later every classroom will have the ability to use them!

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