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February 16, 2006
posted online February 24, 2006

TECH 2006: bridging the digital divide in classrooms

State of Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Thursday, Lt. Governor Pat Quinn celebrated TECH 2006: Students for The Information Age with tech-savvy students from across the state. Quinn also urged passage of the I-Connect Initiative.

"We salute the students, parents and teachers who are dedicated to integrating technology into the modern classroom," Quinn said. "Providing a 21st century learning atmosphere is essential to preparing our students for the 21st century workplace."

TECH 2006 is organized by a volunteer group of educators and business leaders who are committed to increasing awareness about classroom technology and the way it prepares students for an information-based society. Students from across Illinois demonstrated the way technology in their schools is helping them achieve higher levels in reading, math and other subjects.

Lt. Governor Quinn is committed to increasing access to classroom technology for all Illinois students. That’s why Quinn and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Matteson) are supporting the I-Connect Initiative, which last week passed unanimously out of the Illinois House Computer Technology Committee.

The I-Connect Initiative is a pilot program and the first step toward bridging the digital divide. In Downstate Illinois, 78 schools – two from each Regional Office of Education district – will participate in the program. In the Chicago Metropolitan Area, 70 schools will participate, including 30 in Chicago.

Priority will be given to schools with at least 40 percent low-income student enrollment.

Each participating school will receive laptops for every seventh-grade student and their classroom teacher. All laptops will be equipped with science and math tutorials, word processing, note taking, spreadsheet software, and a warranty. In addition, educators will benefit from professional development opportunities and schools will receive technical assistance to aid in developing a school-based laptop network.

"No Illinois child should be left on the wrong side of the digital divide," Quinn said. "I urge our state legislators to pass the I-Connect Initiative."

Lt. Governor Quinn serves as Chairman of the Broadband Deployment Council. The Council was created under Executive Order in September to address Internet access needs for all Illinois citizens and to help bridge the digital divide.

For more information about the I-Connect Initiative visit www.IllinoisConnect.org.

 
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