Bill Gates Meets With Third-Grade Class in East Palo Alto As Part of Continuing Effort to Learn More about Education and Technology

Bill Gates Meets With Third-Grade Class in East Palo Alto As Part of Continuing Effort to Learn More about Education and Technology

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 27, 1998 — Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corp., met today with students in Michelle Williams’ third-grade class at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto as part of his continuing effort to learn more about the best uses of technology in education today. The Cesar Chavez classroom is one of more than 500 classrooms in the Silicon Valley to receive personal computers during last year’s Smart Valley PC Day 1 initiative, a cooperative effort of Intel Corp., Microsoft and other technology companies.

Gates visited teachers and kids to see the innovative ways they are using PCs as a learning tool in science, math and other academic subjects. Over the past two years, Gates has met and talked with students in Chicago; New York; Charlotte, N.C.; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; and Boston to learn more about how PCs, the Internet and productivity and multimedia software are used in libraries and schools nationwide.

At Cesar Chavez Academy, third-graders talked about how they’ve used the classroom PCs to research information for their science projects as well as to help to enhance their math skills. “We use the computers to get on the Internet and find information about different things. I found a lot of information about the endangered California clapper rail bird for our class project on marsh life,” Adam Hall said.

Joshua Faoa described how he enjoys math more now that he uses a computer. “Using the computer helps me get better at doing my math problems. I like to practice my addition, subtraction and times tables,” he said.

In addition to answering questions from 20 third-graders, Gates also announced three organizations selected by the employees of Microsoft’s Northern California district office to receive Microsoft technology grants:

  • Microsoft will license 6,000 copies of the Microsoft® Windows® 95 operating system and Microsoft Works productivity applications to teachers who are awarded Smart Valley grants this year as part of PC Day 2. This program awards PCs at a ratio of one computer per five students to leading-edge teachers who submit applications explaining how they will use the PCs, along with written support from their principal and district. The program, now accepting applications, has been expanded and is open to teachers throughout California. Award recipients will be notified in March. Smart Valley Inc. is a nonprofit organization funded by the membership of more than 70 area companies, including Microsoft, Intel and Hewlett-Packard Co. Smart Valley supports the SmartSchools programs, launched in 1996, including NetDay and PC Day 1.

  • At Oakland Technical High School, Microsoft also will provide a variety of software programs, including programming tools such as the Visual Basic® and Visual C++® development systems and the Visual J++
    ™
    development system for Java to the school’s Computer Science and Technology Academy (CSTA). As one of the newest California State Partnership Academies in its school district, CSTA follows a school-within-a-school model focused on the computer industry. CSTA links the high school with private industry to introduce students to the realities of jobs and the experience they require. Students acquire valuable practical knowledge of the working world through CSTA’s hands-on computer repair classes, field trips, job shadowing, class speakers and summer internships.

  • Finally, Microsoft announced a $15,000 cash donation to help Communities in Harmony Advocating for Learning and Kids (CHALK) to help with their effort to build a “Connected Learning Community,” Microsoft’s vision for enabling students, teachers and the community to collaborate on education. CHALK is a San Francisco-based nonprofit corporation whose mission is to use technology to get communities more actively involved in the lives of kids and public schools. The cash donation announced today is in addition to a Microsoft software and hardware gift awarded to CHALK three months ago. Two CHALK programs will benefit from the Microsoft donations: the Youth Village, an online education and information network serving San Francisco schools, and the Youthline, a toll-free, youth-run central information resource for youth programs and services in San Francisco. Its Web site can be accessed at (http://www.chalk.org/) .

Combined, Microsoft’s software and cash donations to schools in the Bay Area will reach more than 30,000 students and have an estimated value of over $1 million, the majority of which is software valued at retail price.

“It’s exciting to see how teachers and students today are using PC technology and the Internet as an important tool in enhancing education,” Gates said. “I’m pleased to join with our friends in Silicon Valley to advance the Smart Valley program and to help other schools around the Bay Area with technology and other support.”

“It’s just amazing how much the kids have benefited from having hands-on access to technology,” Williams said of how her students have responded to the PCs. “They embraced it right off, and now they’re much more engaged in their own learning. And it’s not only the skills they’ve acquired – they’ve been empowered in a deeply personal way. You can see their motivation and self-esteem going way, way up.”

About Smart Valley

Smart Valley is a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating the deployment of technologies that make Silicon Valley a better place to live and a stronger competitor in the world economy. Collaborating extensively with the private and public sectors, Smart Valley creates and facilitates the implementation of projects that accelerate the adoption of technology in various sectors of the community with emphasis on education and local government. Smart Valley is funded by the membership of over 70 companies and organizations that support these goals.

About Microsoft

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.

Microsoft, Windows, Visual C++, Visual Basic and Visual J++ are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:

Deborah Caldwell, Waggener Edstrom, (408) 986-1140, deborahc@wagged.com

Sue Barnes, Waggener Edstrom, (408) 986-1140, sueb@wagged.com

Charles Earnest, Microsoft, (650) 573-5076, cearnest@microsoft.com

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