City officials have announced that Boston College has donated $300,000 to Newton public schools over the next three years as part of the district's drive for new laptops and other technological tools for its students.
The district will be able to buy about 80 laptops and a dozen digital visual projectors, flat-screen televisions, and media carts for elementary schools in the first year of the partnership, writes Deirdre Fernandes at The Boston Globe.
Countryside Elementary School is one of the half-dozen elementary schools initially targeted to receive the equipment. Its principal, Emily Ostrower, said:
"It's transformational. Some of our laptops are older than the children who attend.''
The donation is seen as a long term investment. Boston College has a long history with the city, with many BC graduates going back to the city to teach in the public schools.
This year nearly 110 undergraduates and graduates will get their student-teaching experience there, writes Fernandes.
Maureen Kenny, interim dean of Boston College's Lynch School of Education, believes that having access to these devices will help the College's student teachers learn how to best incorporate technology into their lessons.
Michelle Powers, a Boston College graduate and second-grade teacher at Countryside, currently uses a projector linked to her laptop for lessons.
Countryside only has one digital visual projector for each grade level. The school currently only has one computer per classroom, too. The money from BC will help get more projectors in the classroom and laptops for every child to use.
This comes after a digital literacy drive was launched in Miami, where every student at the Holmes Elementary School will receive their own laptop as part of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative.
Jorge Martinez of the Knight Foundation's Universal Access Initiative said:
"Access to the Internet and digital skills are vital for success in today's connected world.
"We hope the laptops help these eager young minds at Holmes Elementary to become digital natives who are more informed and engaged in their classrooms and their community."