Bright House Networks Recognized by Hendricks County Commissioners for Increasing Computer Access

Duo teams up to make donation to shelter

Published: February 26, 2010 03:00 pm

Duo teams up to make donation to shelter

By Ryan Palencer

DANVILLE — While Sheltering Wings is bursting at the seams with residents, Bright House Networks and Net Literacy of Indiana teamed up to offer the shelter a donation of computers.

“With the increase of our women, we need more computers,” said Maria Larrison, CEO of Sheltering Wings. “With the increase in numbers of our children, we only have one computer back there (for the teens). This will help us put one or two more back there so they can do homework, research, or whatever they need to do. We feel very blessed.”

Larrison learned about the opportunity when she was contacted by Don Kent, president of Net Literacy.

“Many years ago, there was a group of middle school students who decided they wanted to increase computer access and digital inclusion,” Kent said. “The first organization they approached was Bright House Networks. Bright House took a chance on kids, eighth-graders, who had passion. Ever since then, Bright House has supported us.”

Net Literacy is a student-run, all-volunteer, non-profit organization. In addition, students make up half of the board of directors. Bright House also has a manager on the board of directors to offer vision and guidance.

“Over the years, Bright House has provided enough funding that we’ve been able to create hundreds of computer labs and thousands and thousands of computers in Central Indiana,” Kent said.

One thing that Net Literacy and Bright House are known for is creating Internet safety videos and public service announcements.

Brooke Krodel, marketing communications supervisor for Bright House, said, “Being an Internet provider, one of our big pillars are the children. With net predators and all of that, it’s more important to educate them at a very early age on how to be safe on the Internet.”

Krodel said Bright House is pleased to assist local non-profit organizations.

“We look for worthwhile organizations in our service area who specifically are in need of computers to get net literacy,” he said.

Friday’s donation was part of a 45-computer donation to non-profit organizations in Hendricks County in the days and weeks to come. Due to that effort, the Hendricks County Commissioners at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday are scheduled to issue a proclamation naming Tuesday as “Bright House Networks Day” in Hendricks County. Representatives of each of the groups receiving donations are scheduled to be in attendance.

[email protected]

State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board Awards Net Literacy Almost $100,000 For Financial Connects’ Financial Literacy Contest

State Farm Youth Advisory Board Financial Connects Announcement

Net Literacy challenges students to create financial literacy videos and games

Net Literacy, a digital literacy nonprofit comprised of local Indiana students, along with State Farm Insurance, announced a national competition allowing students will compete for more than one hundred monetary awards for creating videos and interactive games demonstrating the importance of financial literacy. The two organizations came together after Net Literacy received a digital learning grant of $100,000 from State Farm. Net Literacy plans to align the contest with the Indiana Department of Education’s recently established financial literacy standards, which are taught to all 6th through 12th grade students.

David Johnson, Net Literacy’s Student Chairperson and a sophomore at Northwest High School remarked, “We hope that many schools will use this contest as both a class project and an opportunity to engage students to learn about financial literacy.”

Net Literacy’s student board aggregated 200 “best of the web” financial literacy videos and interactive games after a review of more than 5,000 websites. The organization then constructed a website to serve as a resource to students, parents, and educators. The website will launch in April. Following the website project, Net Literacy proposed a grant to encourage students to learn more about financial literacy and use their knowledge to create videos and Interactive games that help their classmates have fun while learning about financial literacy. “Thanks to State Farm and State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board, Net Literacy will be launching a national competition where students can compete for more than 100 awards that will range from $250 to $1,000 for creating videos and interactive games that relate to financial literacy, said Johnson. “We hope that many schools will use this contest as both a class project and an opportunity to engage students to learn about financial literacy. Afterwards, the videos and interactive games will be consolidated on a website where they will be used as a financial literacy resource for students, educators, and parents. The creators of this content will win both a bit of fame and fortune, while helping increase financial literacy among across the country.”

State Farm’s generous grant gives Net Literacy the resources to implement the contest. The student-produced videos and interactive games will be consolidated on a national website where they will be used as a financial literacy resource for students, educators, and parents.

“I am proud that Net Literacy, an organization made of Indiana students, successfully competed for State Farm’s financial literacy grant. This is the type of service learning project that encourages student success, and I congratulate them on this endeavor,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett.

“State Farm supports service-learning because it combines service to the community with classroom curriculum in a hands-on approach to mastering subject material while fostering civic responsibility,” said State Farm Community Specialist Ed Perez. “The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a prime example of State Farm’s commitment to education, our community and our youth.”

Visit www.statefarmyab.com for more information about the different projects being funded and about the Youth Advisory Board.

State Farm will present the check to Net Literacy at a press conference in Indianapolis on February 22, 2010.

More information is available by clicking on the Financial Literacy Contest tab and registering to receive email newsletter updates from this website.

State Farm

Wireless Communications Association Spotlights Net Literacy

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The Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI – www.wcai.com) spotlights Net Literacy as one of their 15 Cooperating Events and Supported Organizations, along with organizations including the Yankee Group, IEEE 802, IPv6 Forum, and the Wireless Communications Alliance.

WCAI Member Spotlight

Net Literacy Works with WCAI Members to Increase Broadband Adoption
The digital divide is expensive! It diminishes the quality of people’s lives, reduces their competitiveness and life options, and closes them off from a world of information, entertainment, and communications. The WCAI and its members are working together to make a difference while increasing broadband adoption in America.

Net Literacy (www.netliteracy.org) is a 501(c)(3) organization where high school and college students do all the volunteering and whose board of directors is 50% comprised of students. Net Literacy empowers youth to increase computer availability and Internet literacy focusing on underserved youth, families, and seniors citizens. It has increased computer access to over 130,000 individuals in four states. Increasing broadband adoption is good public policy, and US Senators Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar Co-Chair Net Literacy’s Honorary Board of Directors. The Honorary Board includes Lt. Governor Skillman, Congressmen, and Mayors. Net Literacy has been recognized by our nation’s leadership, from President Clinton in a NYC ceremony to President Bush in a White House ceremony.

The company’s initiatives are divided into five major programs:

1. Senior Connects Program – This program promotes senior citizen computer and Internet literacy by supplying computers and training materials; or by building public computer labs and teaching senior citizens (and especially those seniors that are mobility impaired or lack reliable transportation) computer and Internet skills. Senior Connects (www.seniorconnects.org) has provided many residents with their first access to public computer labs within their own facilities. The students do all of the installation, computer and software set-up and training – while the management of the facilities must agree to install and maintain Internet access for its residents.

2. Safe Connects Program – With Internet predators and chat room bullying, finding effective ways to educate children about Internet safety has become a critical issue and this Net Literacy program has established a “student-teaching-students/parents” model program for school systems throughout America. The program includes PSAs, 25 minute video presentations, and student presentations to other students. The program was jointly announced by the Indiana Department of Education and Net Literacy. More information about Safe Connects is available at www.safeconnects.org.

3. Community Connects Program – Computer Connects is another Net Literacy program that has built hundreds of computer labs to increase computer access to the underserved. Community Connects (www.communityconnects.org) provides a computer or computer lab to HUD and Section 8 apartments with 50 or more dwelling units, community centers, faith-based organizations, nonprofits, public libraries, and schools.

4. Computer Connects – Every Saturday, many schools gather to work together to repurpose thousands of computers in support of the Community Connects and Senior Connects programs. During weekdays, high schools and colleges also repurpose computers providing thousands of computers for schools. Schools use the computers to build computer labs, place computers in the classrooms, and provide computers to families not having a computer at their home. Student volunteers dispose of unusable computers in an EPA compliant manner, preventing computers and monitors from being delivered to landfills. Learn more by visiting www.computerconnects.org.

5. Financial Connects – Financial literacy is a required life skill, and America’s access to debt and credit is increasingly migrating to the Internet. Financial literacy provides students information that ranges from online banking to avoiding identify theft, and from how to find online scholarships and grants to how to save $100,000 – or many of $100,000s. A financial literacy portal containing a list of the 200 “best of class” online interactive financial games, videos, and calculators were aggregated after an exhaustive search of more than 5,000 financial literacy websites. The website will be launch in February at www.financialconnects.org.

Net Literacy’s programs are independently beginning to be developed by students from New York to California and around the world (www.netliteracyalliance.org). The US Internet Industry Association recently submitted a Filing to the FCC naming Net Literacy’s model as the preferred approach to reducing the digital divide in the United States. Net Literacy was selected by the European Union Study on Digital Inclusion as one of the 91 most promising good practice initiatives based upon an investigation of 32 countries including the EU Member States, the United States, Norway, Iceland, Canada, and India. Microsoft’s publication Innovating for inclusion: A Digital Inclusion guide for those leading the way, cites Net Literacy as one of the best of class digital inclusions examples. The US Broadband Coalition cited Net Literacy and its model several times as examples in its “Adoption and Usage Report” that was prepared for the FCC and has been featured in ads by Broadband For America, an organization co-chaired by Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell and former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr.

Net Literacy’s content and programs are available at no cost to all WCAI members.

Net Literacy Wins a $97,900 Grant to Launch a National Financial Literacy Website

On February 22nd, Net Literacy (www.netliteracy.org) will hold a press conference to announce the details of a $97,900 grant awarded to the nonprofit to build a financial literacy website that includes videos and interactive games created by middle school, high school and college students. Most of the grant’s funds will be used to compensate middle school, high school, and college developers for creative and engaging videos and interactive games teaching financial literacy that are chosen for use on the website.

Financial literacy and Internet financial literacy creates a value proposition that increases broadband adoption.

Details will be made available on February 22nd. For additional information, please contact [email protected]

Broadband for America Blog About Net Literacy

Net Literacy is a member of Broadband for America and today, the following blog was posted here.

Broadband for America

Net Literacy Works to Bring the Internet to Everyone

While the FCC has been working on a national broadband plan for Congress, much of the focus has rightly been on how best to make high-speed Internet access and adoption universal. When most people think about broadband access, they probably imagine the cables and construction tools behind broadband deployment. However, at Net Literacy, we focus on another area of the national broadband foundation that is equally important: providing computers for the public and teaching people how to safely navigate the web. http://www.netliteracy.org/index.asp

The digital divide can hit both children and seniors; families who cannot afford a computer at home, or the broadband services that power them, risk denying their children access to the same learning resources of their classmates. Likewise, seniors who have not made the jump across the digital divide are missing out on access to medical services, the convenience and privacy of online shopping and the opportunity to telework when physical restrictions may otherwise keep them out of the office. And everyone else in between is increasingly finding that most job listings are online.

That’s why our team of student youth volunteers work with our adult staff to increase computer access by creating public computer labs where we can teach basic computer and Internet skills to the community and educate both kids and parents about online safety. In 2003, we began our Senior Connects program, which helps bridge the digital divide by having students teach senior citizens computer skills on a one-to-one basis. The program has quickly spread across the state of Indiana. In addition, we publish many of our other materials online where anyone can use them. http://www.netliteracy.org/other_programs.asp

Getting broadband access to everyone in America is only half the challenge. The high-speed Internet adoption process also requires the computer training and knowledge to safely and smartly navigate the web whether you’re a grade school student or well into your retirement. Net Literacy is a BFA member for more information about them visit http://www.netliteracy.org

FCC Conferences with Net Literacy to Further Discuss Our Filings With the Commission

The FCC contacted Net Literacy to further discuss the 40 page filing submitted earlier this month. 

In summary, Net Literacy recommended that a digital literacy corps be established, Executive Order 12999 be strengthened so that schools receive a “right of first refusal” for all computers deemed surplus by the Federal Government, and that the National Broadband Plan provide priority to the families of K-12 students on free or assisted lunch programs and without a computer at home when allocating hardware and broadband connectivity resources.

The Ex Parte filing can be viewed by clicking on this link.

For additional information, please contact Daniel Kent at [email protected]

 

US Broadband Coalition Issues Adoption & Use Report to the FCC

In any national broadband strategy, adoption and use need to play a major role. We’ve seen numerous examples of broadband driving future applications that will enhance lives. Advances in education, health care and economic development are out there, and many Americans are going to need to increase their technological competencies in order to realize the benefits.

While the U.S. Broadband Coalition submitted a report on a national broadband strategy to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Sept. 24, it recently submitted another that offers more detailed policy suggestions.

The Broadband Adoption and Use Working Group, chaired by Charles Benton of the Benton Foundation; Link Hoewing of Verizon; Karen Archer Perry of the Knight Center of Digital Excellence, and Kenneth Peres of Communications Workers of America, collaborated with more than 30 authors representing over 25 different firms to create a new report that was delivered to the FCC Oct. 29 and will be showcased in a public forum at the FCC Hearing Room in Washington D.C. Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. EST.

“Broadband Adoption and Use: Bridging the Divide and Increasing the Intensity of Broadband Use Across All Sectors of the Economy,” is a robust document focusing on policy options that promote: inclusion, increased intensity of broadband use, interoperability, integration of broadband and technology into other programs, and expanded innovation. The report’s hundred plus policy ideas address each of these principles directly.

Inclusion

As more functions in our society move online, the cost of digital exclusion continues to escalate. Conversely, the value associated with any given Internet-enabled service increases as more people or devices access that service. This report includes specific recommendations to bridge the digital divide. Its universal design principles seek to bring access to people with disabilities. The benefits of broadband can potentially reach 40 percent of American adults who currently have inadequate or no access.

Intensity of Broadband Use

While broadband appears to be well integrated in some sectors of our nation’s economy, we’re actually in the beginning stages of broadband adoption as a whole. The potential to further leverage broadband technologies across society and the economy creates unparalleled opportunities to grow our economy and enrich lives.

The report covers a number of policy options designed to increase adoption and use in the areas of economic development, health care, public safety, education, energy and sustainability, and democracy and civic engagement.

Interoperability

While broadband developments to-date are founded on the natural interoperability of Internet Protocol (the method by which data is sent from one computer to another), more application-level interoperability is needed to accelerate development across sectors and constituencies such as in health care and public safety. The report points out where policy and standardization can drive additional deployment and create new, more effective use models.

Integration of Broadband into Everything

Broadband technology and Internet-based applications can no longer be managed and funded in “technology silos” of policy and investment. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is integral to social services, education, health care, safety, civic rights and engagement, and all other sectors of the economy. The report recommends ICT investment and policy be incorporated into other federal and state programs such as housing, social services, education, and health care as integral funded and mission-aligned program components.

Investment

Strategic investments such as those made through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act’s broadband stimulus funding, Universal Service Funds and USDA Rural Health programs are critical to filling gaps in the market in terms of access, adoption and applications.

Innovation

The hallmark of the Internet age has been innovation. While change is necessary to broaden and deepen the impact of broadband across the U.S., changes must also preserve and encourage continued innovation at all levels of the economy and market. A number of recent studies have shown the Internet is the new platform for innovation not only in the U.S. but globally. Consider the number of new applications and devices over the past few years.

Could any of us have accurately predicted this exact kind of innovation would take place? Can we accurately predict the future possibilities that exist? Probably not.

But as the Coalition suggests, we can encourage policies that will “focus not on protecting status quo but in continuing to create a fertile environment for U.S.-based innovation, expansion as well as adoption and use.”

Over 30 industry experts from 25 firms contributed to “Broadband Adoption and Use: Bridging the Divide and Increasing the Intensity of Broadband Use Across All Sectors of the Economy,” In addition to the report co-chairs, Alcatel-Lucent, Net Literacy, Telcordia, Utilities Telecom Council, PC Rebuilders and Recyclers, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, OneCommunity and many others contributed to this report.

Each report section includes a statement on the opportunity, barriers and possible policy options to be implemented at the federal, state or local levels of government. While the report reflects a few areas of contention, there is strong overall agreement that increasing the adoption and use of broadband technology and services is good for America and for Americans.

With the Internet celebrating only its 40th birthday and search functions just over 10 years old, this is still a field in the early stages of growth and value. There is much we can do to create greater inclusion in adoption and to drive for greater value across those sectors where broadband is already in use and this report includes a menu of serious options for consideration.

Future events

The “Broadband Adoption and Use: Bridging the Divide and Increasing the Intensity of Broadband Use Across All Sectors of the Economy” report will be publicly released Nov. 13 and will be showcased in live and webcast events at the FCC Headquarters on the same day at 1 p.m. EST. Please go to www.BB4US.net for more details, or contact Karen Archer Perry at the Knight Center ([email protected]) or Don Kent at Net Literacy ([email protected]).

Credits – Knight Center for Digital Excellence