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OLPC Brings 1-to-1 Laptop Program to 7 North Carolina Schools

A collaborative effort between One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and Project LIFT has delivered 2,000 laptops to seven schools in North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, with support from the Knight Foundation, who brought together and funded the project.

The local Charlotte group, Project Leadership and Investment for Transformation (LIFT), is a community initiative working to improve outcomes and eliminate education disparities for minority and low-income students in the West Charlotte corridor.

Rebecca Thompson, OLPC facilitator at Bruns Academy, said that the laptops will directly assist LIFT schools in reaching their goals for students to be 90 percent on grade level and 90 percent achieving more than one year's academic growth in one year's time. These goals are to ensure that when students arrive at the feeder high school, West Charlotte, 90 percent of them graduate.

Students have utilized the XO 1.75 laptops via Sugar-based activities facilitated by OLPC on-site coordinators, according to Thompson, with activities ranging from basic document software to beginner computer programming.

"This initiative provides families with access to technology, information, and increased academic engagement," Thompson said. "We have already seen such a positive impact with so few machines. We look forward to seeing our work transform the community and see the full impact of the project."

To help integrate the laptops into each teacher's daily lessons, teachers were offered multiple zone-wide and site-specific trainings. Each participating school also houses a facilitator to help guide teachers for maximum curriculum integration.

The LIFT zone schools included in the OLPC program are:

Charlotte marks the second project in recent years for OLPC in the United States. The first project, also funded by the Knight Foundation, was in Miami for 500 children in a single school.

Based on the successful results from the first year of that project, Knight approached OLPC to undertake the larger, multi-school program in Charlotte, according to a release.

For more information on One Laptop per Child, visit one.laptop.org.

About the Author

Kevin Hudson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at sportswryter@yahoo.com.

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