WASHINGTON, D.C., June 6, 2000 — Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp. chairman and chief software architect, today announced a new initiative that will link two classrooms on opposite coasts for a year of interactive, technology-enabled learning. Called Washington2Washington (W2W), the program pairs a social studies classroom at the SEED Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., with a science classroom at Sequoia Middle School in Kent, Wash., during the 2000-2001 school year, equipping both with a range of technology tools and resources.
Joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley and Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams at the future site of the SEED School in Anacostia, Gates described Washington2Washington as a way to explore best practices for online learning, collaboration and peer-to-peer instruction. The curriculum will focus on environmental science and natural resources in Washington state, led by the Sequoia classroom, and on U.S. government and history with a special focus on the election and inaugural process, led by the SEED School classroom.
“One of our goals at Microsoft is to work with educators and schools to create a truly connected learning community,”
“Washington2Washington offers a small-scale look at how we can enrich curricula with new technology tools, and help educators tap into the powerful convergence of software, Web services and new devices.”
Washington2Washington classrooms will be equipped with computers, digital cameras, video digital cameras, Pocket PCs and a dedicated Web site ( http://www.microsoft.com/w2w ), which is available to educators and the public. Both classes will explore their subject areas inside and outside of the classroom, tracking issues and projects online and sharing information with each other via written and video-based transmissions.
“Washington2Washington illustrates how the innovative use of technology can help reinvent the pedagogical model. Teachers are beginning to take on a new role as copilots, helping kids explore and learn from the increasingly digital universe,”
said Don Tapscott, author of the best-selling book
“Growing Up Digital.” “The beauty of these technologies is that they are so flexible and allow us to fine-tune the learning experience to each child’s needs, creating a rich, self-paced and interactive education environment.”
“We believe that kids can do anything if given the chance,”
said John Litten, Microsoft’s Youth & Learning program manager.
“The main goal for Washington2Washington is to see what happens when you equip kids with the latest technology in a dynamic, connected learning environment. Each of the classrooms will bring something unique to the table and through the use of the Internet site will be able to share this not only with each other, but with the rest of the country.”
The students at each site will be using computers donated by Dell, including OptiPlex™ desktop systems for the classrooms, and Latitude™
notebook computers that are ideal for field study work. Part of Dell’s strategy for
includes sharing the company’s expertise as an Internet pioneer to help schools and educators find the most effective ways to integrate the Web into their curricula. Dell is helping sponsor W2W because the program is a world-class example of using technology to equip students for the digital world.
In addition to the SEED school’s participation in Washington2Washington, the SEED Foundation was named as a spring 2000 Connected Learning Community grant recipient. The Foundation will receive $15,000 in cash and $186,000 in software* to support the school’s technology infrastructure at its new facility.
The Schools and Teachers
Each classroom will take advantage of its unique historical or environmental surroundings. Sequoia Junior High in Kent, Wash., is a diverse junior high school in which over 20 languages are spoken and the morning announcements are made in up to five different languages. In recognition of this diverse student body and hard-working faculty and staff, Sequoia is one of three regional schools to participate in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. This unique program offers students ages 11-16 a holistic view of knowledge by accentuating the connectivity of various academic disciplines.
Sequoia science teacher Paul Neff will focus on environmental issues specific to the Northwest. Potential projects include studying salmon, researching Mt. St. Helens 20 years after its eruption and visits to nearby wetlands where students will monitor and record data and share it with their sister classroom in D.C. Neff’s goal for the program is
“for the kids to get a fantastic experience with technology, the environment and the government.”
The SEED Foundation opened the SEED Public Charter School in 1998. The SEED School is the first urban public boarding school in the nation. Sixty-nine students currently attend the SEED School, and by 2004, 300 students in grades 7-12 will attend the school. Through a rigorous college preparatory program, SEED aims to prepare students academically and socially for success in college and the professional world. Application to the full-time tuition-free residential program is open to all rising 7th grade students in the District of Columbia.
Brandon Lloyd, a social studies teacher at SEED, will head the East Coast portion of the W2W program. Lloyd’s class will have the opportunity to make D.C. come alive to the students in Kent, teaching them about the U.S. government and the history that makes D.C. unique. One of the most important lessons Lloyd believes his students will gain from Washington2Washington is a better understanding of the world outside of their neighborhoods and their role in it.
“I’m hoping that their world will be expanded not just in terms of understanding science, but in understanding cultures and what other people care about and what other people think about,”
Microsoft Youth & Learning Program
Microsoft believes that education is the most important application of its technology. The Microsoft Youth & Learning program is dedicated to maximizing ongoing Microsoft programs as well as the creation of new programs, such as Washington2Washington. Through products, programs and giving, Microsoft is committed to building a modern learning infrastructure, providing anytime, anyplace access to learning and integrating technology into all aspects of classroom activities and school administration.
Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq
) is the world’s leading direct computer systems company, based on revenues of $27 billion for the past four quarters, and is a premier provider of products and services required for customers to build their Internet infrastructures. The company ranks No. 56 on the Fortune 500, No. 210 on the Fortune Global 500 and No. 3 on the Fortune
lists of companies. Dell designs, manufactures and customizes products and services to customer requirements, and offers an extensive selection of software and peripherals. Information on Dell and its products can be obtained on the World Wide Web at www.dell.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.
*Software values based on estimated retail prices.
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