AOL will be the national Internet partner in Dell TechKnow, Dell’s three-year old program that provides middle-school students with a free computer after completion of a 40-hour after-school program. In addition to donating one year of Internet access at no cost for program graduates, America Online’s ‘AOL@School’s Safe Surfin’ Internet safety materials have been integrated into the Dell TechKnow curriculum to teach students how to safely and securely access the Internet.
“Dell and AOL share a commitment to education and the belief that by combining access to technology and access to the Internet we can create a powerful learning tool, a motivator to student success and a bridge that parents, students and educators can use to build the home to school connection,” said Jonathan Miller, Chairman and CEO, America Online, Inc. “Our experience in providing our free-to-schools product, AOL@School, and online education resources such as AOL Homework Help and the Research and Learn areas of the AOL Service, has also taught us that preparing students with 21st Century skills is key to opening their world to new possibilities and new opportunities.”
Dell expects to increase the number of students in the program this year by 60 percent, with 5,000 students participating during the 2004-2005 academic year. Since July 2001, 3,000 students from 21 school districts and 78 schools nationwide have participated in Dell TechKnow.
“The rapid growth of the program underscores the power of community partnerships to equip our youth for success in the 21st century,” said Michael Dell, Chairman, Dell Inc. “AOL shares our vision to provide meaningful learning opportunities and improve the quality of life for children and families.”
The Dell TechKnow program uses technology training to inspire middle school students to develop 21st Century skills. Working in teams, students learn how to take apart and re-build the computer, install software; upgrade it, and diagnose and fix basic hardware problems. Upon completion of the course students take home a Dell desktop computer and receive one-year of Internet access at no charge from AOL. Students can become coaches and mentors to other family members who may lack technology skills. This, in turn, helps promote the development of digital literacy in low-income households.
The Internet plays an important role in the digital literacy of students and America Online focuses on providing safe, secure and fun access. Through AOL, a child’s imaginations can be ignited, a parent can enhance their career or homework can be made more fun. As long as the need for getting quick, in-depth information is still there, the need for the Internet will also be strong.
Participating school districts for this academic year include: Alameda, Calif.; Allentown, Pa.; Anson, N.C.; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Md.; Bethlehem, Pa.; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Denver; Fort Worth, Texas; Grape Creek, Texas; Harrisburg, Pa.; El Paso, Texas; Houston; Kannapolis, N.C.; La Joya, Texas; Laredo, Texas; Lebanon, Tenn.; Lexington, Ky.; Miami; Montgomery, N.C.; New York City; Nashville; New Orleans; Norfolk, Va.; Pampa, Texas; Richmond, N.C.; San Antonio; Stanley, N.C.; Trenton, N.J., Arizona; Union, N.C. and Washington, D.C.