Bill Gates Talks With Harlem Sixth-Graders About Using Laptop Computers as Learning Tools
NEW YORK, March 4, 1998 — Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corp., joined by New York City Community District Six Superintendent Anthony Amato, visited Harlem’s Mott Hall School to speak with sixth-graders about an innovative new initiative to use laptop computers as personal learning tools. Gates has visited with young people in schools and public libraries more than a dozen times in the past two years to discover how librarians, teachers and students are using PCs to improve teaching and learning.
“This is a terrific example of PCs unlocking students’ curiosity and creativity,”
Janice Gordon’s class at Mott Hall was one of the pioneer schools in the United States that adopted this laptop computer program. I am really impressed with the ways Janice and her students are using personal computers and the Internet to make learning fun. They should be proud of what they’ve accomplished in just a year and a half.
“Schools need great teachers like Janice in addition to the basic tools necessary to let learning happen,”
“Schools like Mott Hall show that when PCs, the Internet and great software are part of the mix, learning becomes even more exciting for kids.”
Microsoft also announced a software donation of $900,000 (estimated retail value) for computer centers in New York’s United Neighborhood Houses. The software will be used in the settlement houses’ learning centers, local technology
that will provide tools for education, job-skills preparation and recreation.
During the 1996-97 school year, Mott Hall School in Community District Six was one of 52 public and private schools that pioneered the Anytime, Anywhere Learning vision, in which students and teachers can use personal laptop computers as learning tools 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At present, more than 20,000 students in 250 schools nationwide have access to laptop computers 100 percent of the time.
At Mott Hall School, students showed Gates how they have used their laptops to enhance classroom activities.
“To research my presentation, I downloaded pages from the Internet,”
said sixth-grader Justina Foggie about a recent project she did on nuclear energy.
“Then I used the thesaurus and dictionaries on my computer to look up all the words I didn’t understand and find out what they meant.”
Gordon is teaching this class of laptop learners for the second year. She described the dramatic transformation that has occurred in her classroom over the past 18 months.
“My expectations for the children and their perceptions of what they can achieve have changed,”
“They now work to master each assignment. They don’t just want it to be good. They want it to be perfect, and they all believe they can achieve anything they want.”
Microsoft provides schools with curriculum ideas, best practices and case studies, as well as connections to potential solutions for hardware, financing, insurance and training. Microsoft and Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. also are funding a three-year independent study to measure the impact that using one full-featured laptop per student has on teaching and learning.
Results of a yearlong pilot study of the 52 pioneer schools reveal consistent reports from teachers on the powerful impact that Anytime, Anywhere Learning is having on how teachers teach and what students accomplish. Teachers reported that the greatest impact of Anytime, Anywhere Learning is that laptop computers allow the students to take greater responsibility for their learning and to access the curriculum in ways that reflect their individual needs.
Gates’ visit to Mott Hall School and Microsoft’s support of Anytime, Anywhere Learning is part of the company’s continuing efforts to help create a global
“Connected Learning Community”
in which all students and educators have access to technology and information online to support learning today and for a lifetime.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) 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.
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