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Earn it, by maintaining a 3.4 grade point average. That’s what students in Toledo are saying after the partnership between two Toledo High Schools and Buck Eye Cable Systems finalized today. Buckeye Cable Systems will be presenting 25 laptops to high achieving students at the Ohio schools, in an effort to shorten the digital divide, and raise the number of students in the High School taking college level courses. The laptops will be given to students in a dual enrollment program, which allows them to take classes on-line for college credit while still enrolled in high school. The laptops will have Internet installed at no charge by BuckEye CableSystems. Each laptop will cost about $1,000 USD and come pre-installed with all of the necessary software. Immediately after receiving the laptops, the students will be enrolled in an on-line sociology class at the University of Toledo. The school district claims studies have shown that at home Internet access plays a vital role in improving graduation rates.
80 percent of Americans have access to the internet at home, giving the majority of the country an untapped source of information that the minority can not reach. This program is stretching to bring closer that have’s and the have’s not by offering an opportunity to prove that when the playing field is evened, students from all walks of life can benefit greatly. The laptops will have to be returned as the course ends, but if proven effective, the program will pave the way for more students to receive free laptops. The Sociology class, which is offered to college freshmen at the University of Toledo, is worth 3 credits and usually costs 1,150 USD for tuition. The course description lists over 12 different softwares’ necessary to take part in on-line discussion forums, submit assignments, and take tests.
With the ever increasing popularity of distance learning, programs like Buckeye Cable Systems seem to be gaining popularity year after year. The Digital Divide, which refers to the gap between those who have dependable internet access and those who don’t, is something many organizations are trying to deal with. One main reason is that those with internet access are privy to an unlimited amount of specialized information where those without, more or less, are living in the past. Last week, in Maryland, a school was granted 400,000 dollars for a Digital Learning Fund, which aims to put a tablet in every students hand. In Minnesota the week before, a snow day was combated by Internet distance learning and the school was able to count the work, that was done on-line, as credible. Despite the students moaning about how they were cheated out of their snow day, authorities at the school have committed to the snow day plan, for every snow day to come. The program in Toledo required that all students had to have a teacher sponsor them as well as parental permission. Once these were completed, the students then had to write an essay for the program, become hand selected, and complete an Internet safety course”