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.

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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

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

19 Net Literacy Alliance Chapters and Affiliates Participate in Mini-Grant Program

19 Net Literacy (www.netliteracyalliance.org) chapters made the deadline and are able to compete for one of three $1,000 grants to promoted digital inclusion.  While several Net Literacy chapters and affiliates did not meet the deadline to compete for the $1,000 grants, they will qualify for the Mini-Grant programs.  These grants will enable the chapters torepurpose hundreds of computers, teach Internet safety to elementary and middle school students, and help teach seniors and other computer and Internet skills.   Winners include:

a.      YWCA in the City of Marion (whose Net Literacy Chapter has recently combined with the Marion Housing Authority).

b.      Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School

c.      Arlington Community School

d.      John Marshall Community School

e.      TC Howe Community School

f.       Tech Force (at ITT Tech)

g.      Carmel Connects (Carmel High School)

h.      Northwest High School

i.       George Washington Community High School

j.       Providence Cristo Rey High School

k.      Connersville Middle School

l.       New Tech High @ Arsenal Tech

m.    New Tech School of IDEAS (Decatur Central High School)

n.      Eastview School (Connersville)

o.     IPS Off Campus Instruction School

p.      Rensselaer Central Middle School

q.      Net Literacy Chapter at Fort Wayne Housing Authority

r.       Net Literacy Chapter at Fort Wayne Urban League

s.      Net Literacy Chapter at Fort Wayne Community Schools

The competition was tough and the following schools will be invited to compete for a $1,000 grant – YWCA/Marion Housing Authority, IPS Off Campus Instructional School, New Tech School of IDEAS, New Tech High @ Arsenal Tech, and TC Howe. The following schools were recognized but did not receive enough points to qualify to compete for the next round of the $1,000 grant.  Congratulations since they received Honorable Mentions – Rensselaer Central Middle School, Providence Cristo Rey, Tech Force (ITT Tech), Net Literacy at Fort Wayne Community Schools, Northwest High School, Carmel Connects (Carmel High School) and John Marshall Community High School.  Again, congratulations to all.

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]

 

Bright House Networks Supports Net Literacy for a Fifth Year

Bright House Networks has agreed to support Net Literacy (www.netliteracy.org) for a fifth year, enabling Net Literacy’s digital literacy corps of student volunteers to offer its five core programs in five counties throughout Indiana.   The Net Literacy – Bright House Networks has increased computer access to tens of thousands of non-adopters during their partnership together, and will be providing 36 computers to six Hendricks County nonprofits in January.

For the third year, Bright House will also support Net Literacy’s Internet safety PSA program (www.safeconnects.org) by providing a substantial number of advertising avails in its franchised areas.  Over 100,000 individuals have viewed Net Literacy’s Internet safety PSAs, helping to make the Internet a more friendly and comfortable place for everyone.  Bright House Networks will also fund the production of five additional PSAs. 

For additional information, please contact [email protected].

Net Literacy and the Clowes Fund to Provide Computers to Thousands of K-12 Students Whom Speak English as a New Language

Net Literacy’s “digital literacy corps” (http://www.digitalliteracycorps.org)  of youth volunteers are repurposing almost 700 computers and will donate them to targeted schools that have high populations of students whom use English as a New Language (ENL). 

In a response to a request for information from the FCC, Net Literacy proposed that the Commission target ENL populations on a priority basis and provide them resources in the National Broadband Plan.  Also in this paper, Net Literacy proposed that K-12 students on free or assisted lunches and without a computer at home have the highest priority and receive free or subsidized computers and broadband ahead of all other population groups with low broadband adoption rates. 

This new initiative, funded via a generous grant from the Clowes Fund, will enable 700 ENL families (approximately 2250 K-12 students) to receive a computer to help them with their school work.  The program commences in January and will also provide approximately 975 adults in the 700 household access to a computer, impacting a total of approximately 3,000 Hoosiers. 

Net Literacy has recently completed a computer and Internet training manual in Spanish, and the training manuals will be available on a refreshed Senior Connects (www.seniorconnects.org) website later this month.  The Senior Connects website contains all basic computer, Internet and email lesson plans for the  Senior Connects and the Community Connects (www.communityconnects.org) programs.  It is available at no cost to all in English, Spanish, and Russian versions. 

The Clowes Fund has supported the Computer Connects (www.computerconnects.org) program since 2008, and has recently invited Net Literacy to apply for a multi-year grant in 2010. 

For additional information, visit www.netliteracy.org or contact Don Kent at [email protected].