Connect Ohio’s 2008 Residential Technology Assessment for Jackson County shows that only about 27 percent of residents have high-speed Internet service in their homes. In fact, 3,500 of Jackson County’s more than 12,000 households don’t have access to broadband technology in their homes, while 95 percent of Ohio households do.
Many students on the wrong side of the divide resort to skipping lunch to work in school computer labs or making long journeys to the public library after school. Such efforts are necessary because Ohio students are now doing much of their work online, including reading textbooks, watching podcasts, using discussion boards and creating PowerPoint presentations.
The Jackson City library currently has seven broadband connected computers that are made available for public use. In the past year, library director Laura Thorne reports that nearly 1,000 patrons use the computers every month. There is often a wait to use a computer, especially after local schools are dismissed for the day, she said.
“Since Wi-Fi service is available throughout the library, patrons will be able to use one of these notebooks to access the Internet when the desktop stations are in use,” Thorne said. “We are also hoping that the addition of these new computers will allow us to resume computer training for our patrons,” Thorne said.
“Connect Ohio is pleased to be able to provide these new computers for use by Jackson County students and for any other resident who wants to take advantage of the benefits of high-speed Internet,” said Tom Fritz, Connect Ohio’s executive director. “Research by the American Library Association finds that more than 90 percent of libraries provide formal or informal technology training to library patrons. Of those libraries that offer formal classes, 91 percent provide training in general computer skills; 71 percent have formal classes in using software applications; and 93 percent have training in general Internet use.”
No Child Left Offline is an innovative project that brings together public and private partners to help disadvantaged students and their families gain access to broadband-enabled technology.
This is accomplished by placing computers in the hands of disadvantaged populations so that they have access to abundant technological resources and can perform basic computing functions.
The program is funded through public and private donations.
“We are truly thankful for the public and private partners who generously support the No Child Left Offline program. With community collaboration we are able to get vital technology into the hands of Ohioans that need it most,” Fritz said.
For more information about the No Child Left Offline ® program, visit: http://www.connectohio.org/nclo/
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