Improve Technology Education in USA
You can help improve educational opportunities for students at the Mission Hill School, a low-income public charter school in Boston, MA. Fourth, fifth, and some teachers will receive a low-cost laptop with your support. Your support of this project will include teaching computer classes and develop laptop-based activities to prevent students from falling behind their peers in the important area of computer literacy.
A common myth about the digital divide is that it refers to only the technology gap between developed and developing countries. However, this division is also prominent in the United States, where computer access is linked to factors such as income and race. A recent report showed that 46% of black students use computers at home, compared with 78% of white students. Forty-seven percent of children with family incomes under $25,000 have a home computer, compared with 97% of those with family incomes over $100,000 (Source: U.S. Census Bureau). According to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, schools can play a significant role in bridging the digital divide. Even compared to high-poverty schools, the technology situation at the Mission Hill School is dire. While high-poverty schools nationwide have 4.5 students per computer (Source: Education Week), Mission Hill’s fourth and fifth grades have 18 students per computer. Only 30% of the predominantly black and Hispanic student population has a home computer. According to the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), over 50% of Mission Hill School students are failing math, 40% are failing science, and 20% are failing language arts. With a one laptop per child ratio at the Mission Hill School, students and their families will have the opportunity to take ownership of technology resources. By introducing laptops into students’ homes, where family members can assist with homework, both students and families will be exposed to technology. Most importantly, it is anticipated that families will become more interested and involved in their child's education, fostering positive familial dynamics within the Mission Hill community.
About Digital Literacy Project
Partner since November, 2010
Digital Literacy Project is a non-profit and officially recognized student organization of Harvard College that was founded in the fall of 2008. The organization addresses the digital divide by providing laptops and computer classes for schools around the world, allowing disadvantaged students to develop valuable technology skills.
DigiLit was founded because it is not constructive to simply donate laptops to communities that lack technology experience. In order to create sustainable technology programs, laptop donations must be combined with training and curriculum resources. Since its founding, DigiLit has raised over 120 laptops and more than $20,000 in foundation seed funding. Most recently, Digital Literacy won first place in Harvard's annual business plan competition. With successful laptop programs thriving in Boston and Managua, Nicaragua, the team recently launched an online XO laptop education portal with One Laptop per Child Australia. This work has allowed DigiLit to develop a best practices laptop training and integration program that will serve as the foundation for upcoming projects.