The Clowes Fund Supports Net Literacy for a Third and Fourth Year

Clowes Fund
Clowes Fund

The Clowes Fund awarded Net Literacy $17,500 for 2010 and 2011 to enable Net Literacy’s students volunteers to provide computers that will impact thousands of youths. The Clowes Fund’s support has provided thousands of computers for dozens of nonprofits, classrooms, and computer labs. The Clowes Fund’s focus has been on Net Literacy’s Computer Connects program – a program that has efficiently repurposed more than 10,000 computers during the last few years. More about how the Clowes Fund is making a difference can be learned by clicking here.

Net Literacy’s more than 2,000 student volunteers are very grateful for the Clowes Fund’s continuing support, now totaling almost $50,000.

For more information, please contact [email protected]

Updated Senior Connects Website Launched Today!

Thanks to the technical expertise of Net Literacy’s Chief Technology Officer Brian Kelley, an updated and refreshed Senior Connects website was launched today!

While the new website contains a nostalgic look to the past and includes the 2005 American and Canadian Senior Connects Board of Advisors, it also has added the following:
• Streaming videos of a Net Literacy “student” who in her early 80’s, learned how to use a computer and broadband through the Senior Connects’ program in 2003, through a series of videos, she explains how this experience has changed and empowered her life.
• Updated computer, Internet, and Email training lesson plans – including some training programs that have been translated into Spanish and Russian.
• FAQ that answer the question – how do I start a Senior Connects program in my own community?
Learn more by visiting the Senior Connects website!

Net Literacy’s Senior Connects program was referenced in the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan submitted to Congress last week. Learn more about Net Literacy and how the Digital Literacy Corps can make a difference by clicking on the links.

Please contact [email protected] if you have questions.

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]

Net Literacy Launches Financial Connects Program

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In 2007, Net Literacy’s student board decided that “Net” financial literacy was becoming increasingly important with the proliferation of online banking and financial resources – and the increasing danger of identity theft. Also, the student board believed that students’ general lack of financial literacy caused them to be ill prepared for life. A series of informal focus groups comprised of high school students found most financial literacy websites to be “a yawn” and “boring.” Since increasing students’ life skills is one of Net Literacy’s core mission component; grants were proposed and a summer program was funded thanks to Lilly Endowment, the Old National Bank Foundation, and Bright House Networks. Net Literacy student volunteers reviewed more than 5,000 financial literacy websites and identified the 200 “best of class” videos, interactive games, and other content that made financial literacy relevant and interesting to post on the website.

Twenty student volunteers spent 40 hours during the summer at IUPUI working very quickly to learn how to storyboard, script, produce, and edit videos. Indianapolis Public Schools believed that this website would be an important resource and the district nominated students from Northwest High School, Arlington High School, Arsenal Tech High School, Broad Ripple High School, George Washington Community School, Howe Community High School, and John Marshall High School to learn about financial literacy and produce 20 videos that mixed fact and fun together.

Net Literacy Chief Technology Officer Brian Kelley (Purdue University) and Student President Daniel Kent (Haverford College) built the website and used php to create the dynamic interface to showcase the 200 “Best of Web” financial literacy videos, interactive games, and content. Phase I of the website is at www.financialconnects.org.

Chairman of the House Education Committee Greg Porter visited the students as they were taping the videos during the summer program, and explains why the Indiana General Assembly passed financial literacy legislation in 2009.

A press conference was held at the Indiana Department of Education’s offices, and also, Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett praised Net Literacy for this service learning project.

While this was a step in the right direction, Net Literacy’s student board believed that students could learn about financial literacy and in a compelling manner, create their own videos and interactive web based games to both engage and teach students about financial literacy. Net Literacy applied for and was successful in obtaining a $98,000 grant from State Farm. Read more by clicking on the tab “Financial Connects Contest” on this website.

“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.

Net Literacy’s student volunteers and student board of directors thanks State Farm Youth Advisory Board and State Farm for their trust, support, and advocacy. Learn more about Net Literacy by visiting www.netliteracy.org.

The Indiana Department of Education is providing support to Net Literacy during Phase II of this project – but Net Literacy is solely responsible for the content and site. Additional information about the Indiana Department of Education’s Financial Literacy Standards is at http://www.doe.in.gov/octe/facs/IndianaFinLitEd-FrontPage.html

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.

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