Microsoft’s Bill Gates Meets with Chicago Students and Teachers to Discuss Technology & Education

CHICAGO, Ill., April 29, 1997 — Bill Gates, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation, met today with students and teachers at Chicago’s Einstein Elementary School to talk about how they use technology in education, and to announce several grants benefiting Chicago schools and museums. More than anything, he did a lot of listening:

  • Fifth-graders Donald Grayson and Everly Keeton talked about how they used the school’s PCs to design a web site:
    “We needed a picture to go on the page that made people think of Einstein,”
    said Keeton.
    “We tried different stuff and then said that Einstein was bright and that made us think of lightbulbs. Then we found three drawings of lightbulbs and picked the brightest one for the page.”

  • “Making this web page made us heroes with the other kids in the school and that feels good,”
    Grayson added.
    “We are learning how to use technology to find information and to post information and we can show our friends how to do this too.”

  • Sapphire Hudson described how excited she was when her teacher asked her to do research on the jaguar and the rain forest.
    “I found a lot of things on the Internet.”

To help expand access to PCs and the Internet for kids in Chicago, Gates also announced a donation of more than $100,000 in software, training, hardware and grants to help Chicago build a ‘Connected Learning Community.’ The grant will provide access to technology for children and families in the city’s largest housing project, the Robert Taylor Homes.

“These students are using technology to reach beyond the walls of their school, past the confines of their neighborhood,”
said Gates.
“They are accessing information from the global learning community. Through the school’s web site, they are contributing to this worldwide community’s knowledge base. Access to the Internet and PCs now and throughout their education will help provide kids with the skills and knowledge that they need to succeed.”

Dr. Phyllis Tate, principal at Einstein, a 300-student school in the heart of the Ida B. Wells housing project, said,
“Our students have used PCs and the Internet to access information and to develop class projects on topics such as the solar system, endangered species and African American history. The artwork they showed Mr. Gates is a result of the research that they have done using the Internet and CD-ROM resources.”

She added,
“Einstein’s students are very proud of their use of technology and the opportunity to show Mr. Gates what they are learning was absolutely thrilling for them.”

Einstein Elementary currently has 60 PCs located in classrooms throughout the school. The school has received several state and local grants for its innovative use of technology in the curriculum, including a special state grant to bring local museum resources into the school using the Internet.

“Student achievement is the Chicago Public School’s primary focus,”
said Paul Vallas, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools.
“Microsoft’s donation will help these schools ensure that more students and teachers have access to the technology and training that will help them to reach their academic goals.”

Donation to Chicago Elementary Schools and Chicago Children’s Museum Announced

During his visit with the students, Gates announced that Microsoft will donate more than $100,000 in software, hardware, training and grants to support the development of a Connected Learning Community in Chicago. Today’s announcement augments the more than $1 million donation to bring the Internet and multimedia PCs to Chicago libraries, which Gates announced just last March when he joined Mayor Richard M. Daley and community leaders during a ceremony at the Harold Washington Library.

The Connected Learning Community is Microsoft’s overall vision for technology in education, an educational environment in which all students have access to the world’s information through personal computers, and students, educators, parents and the extended community are connected to one another.

In collaboration with Compaq Computer Corporation, Microsoft is donating 12 Compaq Presario 4406ES personal computers loaded with Microsoft software to Einstein Elementary School and five other public elementary schools that serve the children, who live in the 28 high-rise buildings of Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes. Two PCs and special computer training for teachers will go to Hartigan Community Arts Specialty School, Mary C. Terrell School, Farren Fine Arts School, Helen J. McCorkle Elementary School and Ludwig Von Beethoven Elementary School. In addition, the schools will receive software such as Microsoft Encarta®
97 Multimedia Encyclopedia, Microsoft Office 97 and Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus titles.

The Chicago Children’s Museum also received a $10,000 Microsoft Connected Learning Community Grant to fund the development of a web site that it will use to provide activities and information to families, schools, libraries and agencies serving the Robert Taylor Homes, the nation’s largest public housing project. Connected Learning Community Grants help create technology connections for learning in areas that are disadvantaged and may not have access to information technologies. The Children’s Museum will host
“after school computer clubs”
in the schools in this neighborhood and at the museum to give students after-school computer access.

Information Management Group, a Chicago-based Microsoft Solution Provider, will work with the Chicago Children’s Museum to train three teachers from each school to use Windows 95 and Office 97, explore the Internet and use the Microsoft FrontPage
™
web authoring tool to design web pages. These
“train-the-trainer”
sessions will enable teachers to help their colleagues and students learn or enhance their software skills.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

For more information, press only:

Lisa Wolfe, Marcy Monyek and Associates, (312) 263-2135, lisaawolfe@MSN.com

Joelle McGinnis, Marcy Monyek and Associates, (312) 263-2135, joellem@MSN.com

Teresa Krueger, Microsoft, 630-628-4219

Microsoft, Encarta, FrontPage and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. The Magic School Bus is a trademark of Scholastic, Inc. Other product or company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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