Local News

BellSouth, Chapel Hill Schools Take Aim At Bridging Digital Divide

Posted May 30, 2001

— The recent U.S. Census tells us that Americans are growing farther apart when it comes to personal wealth. Children are often the losers in this economic divide because the 21st-century classroom depends on expensive technology, but BellSouth and the Chapel Hill Schools are taking aim at the digital divide.

Scroggs Elementary is part of a pilot program that matches computer use with learning. The program places desktop units in homes where parents do not have the money to pay for one. Scroggs wanted to expand the program, but the price tag was steep, BellSouth stepped in and gave the school a $250,000 grant.

With the grant, the school hopes to put a computer in the home of about 100 students who do not have one there now, but it is not just the kids who benefit from the program.

"It's a tool. It can open many doors for students, and for their families that want to learn," says principal Paula McCarthy.

Computers also come with an e-mail account, which parents like.

"You get to know what homework is due. You get to know what projects are due. It's very handy and all you have to do is just sit in front of the computer," says parent Lola Olufobabi.

Scroggs Elementary is one of only four schools in the Southeast to receive a grant. BellSouth expects the school to share what it learns about integrating technology in the classroom.

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