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Supporting School Use of Technology

You can encourage your children's online activities at home and at school. Talk with your children, school staff, and other parents about what online experiences are already part of classroom activities and what is being planned. Get involved by:

  • Helping schools get technology, including used equipment from government agencies or businesses. For information on computer recycling, visit http://www.microweb.com/pepsite/Recycle/recycle_index.html and the Computer Recycling Project at http://www.voicenet.com/~cranmer/recycling.html.

  • Helping your school and community participate in NetDay, a grassroots volunteer effort to wire schools so their computers are networked and have Internet access http://www.netday.org/.

  • Sharing your expertise by volunteering in the classroom or organizing training for teachers and other parents.

  • Asking your local PTA to set up a "family night" on computers, technology, and the Internet.

  • Helping schools develop "rules of the road" that are discussed with students before they go online.

  • Joining the school's technology planning group.

Special Opportunity for Schools

In May 1997, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a rule (known as the E-rate) giving schools 20 to 90 percent discounts in access charges to the Internet and telecommunications services, including wiring school buildings for the Internet. (The amount of the discount depends on how many low-income students a school serves and whether it is located in a rural, suburban, or urban area). Starting in January 1998, more than $2 billion a year will be available for the discounts (see http://www.fcc.gov/learnnet/ and http://www.ed.gov/Technology/ for more information).

To apply for a discount, a school must have a technology plan that explains how the school will integrate technology into the curriculum. The plan must also address hardware, software, training, and maintenance issues. As a parent, you can play an active role in helping your school develop a technology plan.


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