2,000+ laptops, training going to Charlotte L.I.F.T. students

One Laptop per Child hosts largest U.S. launch in Charlotte on Feb. 26

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — (Feb. 26, 2013)— In an effort to level the digital playing field, more than 2,000 laptops will be distributed to first through fourth grade students in the Project L.I.F.T. zone on Feb. 26. 

One Laptop per Child will provide the laptops - part of the organization’s largest U.S. effort to date – with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Community advocates will present the laptops at 10:30 a.m. at a special launch at Druid Hills Academy, 2801 Lucena St.

"We are pleased to be working with Knight Foundation and Project L.I.F.T. in this bold endeavor,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, chairman and CEO of the One Laptop per Child Association. “We believe that partnering with foundations, the private sector and the public sector is an excellent model that can be replicated across the country."

The laptops are a critical part of Project L.I.F.T., a community-driven effort to ensure the children in the Project L.I.F.T. schools succeed.

The project has what it calls its 90-90-90 goal: it’s seeking to have 90 percent of all West Charlotte elementary students performing on grade level, achieving more than one year of academic growth in each grade, and ultimately graduating from high school.  Project LIFT plans to do this by focusing on the four pillars of time (continuous learning opportunities), talent (the best teachers, administrators and staff), technology, and community/parent engagement.

“Our technology pillar has become complete with One Laptop per Child,” said Project L.I.F.T. Zone Superintendent Denise Watts.

Project L.I.F.T. has already given parents the chance to buy laptops at a very low cost and provided broadband access for free for one year, Watts said.

“These strategies will no doubt introduce 21st century technology to our students and help bridge the technology gap,” said Watts.

The OLPC XO laptops, specially designed for primary school children, are part of Knight Foundation’s $4 million investment in Project L.I.F.T.

“Access to the Internet and digital skills are vital for success in today’s connected world, we hope these devices can give the students a jump start to learning and living digitally,” said Susan Patterson, Charlotte program director for Knight Foundation.

Along with the XO laptops, Knight Foundation has provided at-school training for teachers and students on how to use the computers to advance students’ learning. One Laptop facilitators have worked with teachers since August to develop lesson plans to integrate laptops. Students, at this point, have had their hands on the green machines a dozen times for practice.

To pull the entire school into the laptop’s classroom integration, some 6th- 8th grade students have been trained as XO technicians called the “Green Team.” These students know how to troubleshoot issues with the computers, disassemble them and correct problems without the need to ship laptops off for repairs.

The laptops come equipped with tools that allow students and teachers to work more closely together. In real-time, students can follow their teacher’s work on their laptop, or work collaboratively on projects.

The media is invited to the OLPC Launch program at Druid Hills, 2801 Lucena Street, on Feb. 26 at 10:30 a.m. A media brunch will follow directly after the program in Druid’s media center at 11:30 a.m. Interviews of OLPC, Knight Foundation and Project L.I.F.T. representatives can occur during the brunch. Classrooms teaching XO laptop interactive lessons will be ready for visits at 12 noon.

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About One Laptop per Child

One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide every child in the world access to new channels of learning, sharing and self-expression. In partnership with the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations and supported by comprehensive implementation and pedagogical services, OLPC seeks to provide each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power connected laptop that empowers individual learning and growth. www.laptop.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. www.knightfoundation.org.

About Project L.I.F.T.

Project L.I.F.T. is an innovative, community initiative working to improve outcomes and eliminate education disparities for minority and low-income students. www.projectliftcharlotte.org

Contact

Denada Jackson, (980) 343-0951 office; (704) 957-1447 mobile.

Andrew Sherry, Vice President/Communications, Knight Foundation (305) 908-2677; media@knightfoundation.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.