November 14, 2013 0 Comments AUTHOR: brucemarler CATEGORIES: Random

Big River Broadband Donates Laptops to Parkland Programmers

 

BIG RIVER BROADBAND TO ENHANCE YOUTH TECHNOLOGY SKILL THROUGH DONATION OF COMPUTERS TO SUPPORT PARKLAND PROGRAMMERS

FARMINGTON, MISSOURI (November 14, 2013) – Big River Broadband donated 15 laptop computers Tuesday, Nov. 12, to the Farmington Regional Community Foundation to enhance technology skills among students ages 8-12 participating in Parkland Programmers.

This is the first gift to the Farmington Regional Community Foundation as part of its fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Parkland Programmers, a youth technology initiative which began earlier this fall as a way to provide extra-curricular computer programming training to youth in the area.

Parkland Programmers coordinator Tiffany Marler is excited about the opportunities this gift from Big River Broadband will provide.

“The gift of these dedicated computers for kids will help so much,” Tiffany Marler said. “Since our participants start at age 8, we know not all of them have their own personal device to bring to class, so this will help us ensure that each student has access to the tools they need to learn these important skills.”

“We always want to be able to provide the same opportunities and level of education no matter the financial circumstances at home, so having those laptops available for “check-out” will give every kid the opportunity to succeed,” Marler said.

Marler also said that having dedicated computers will cut down on the amount of tech support time by program administrators which will allow more time for letting students learn and create.

“The skills that are being provided by Parkland Programmers are helping our own young people right here at home to learn to think creatively, develop critical thinking skills, and work collaboratively,” said Kevin Cantwell, president of Big River Broadband. “These are essential skills for students to become productive employees and leaders in the 21st century.”

Cantwell said that technology is such a driver of innovation and is a necessity for jobs in all industries and that opening doors to these tools early in a child’s life, will undoubtedly help prepare them for success.

The 40 students who participated in the first session of Parkland Programmers used Scratch, a Web-based program designed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. Scratch provides a framework that allows students to design interactive stories, games, and animations, and share their creations with others in the Scratch online community.

Marler said that Scratch provides a strong programming framework that’s fun and exciting for children, which prepares them to learn more complex language as they develop their skills.

“You have to have the backbone of the process before learning an actual programming language like JavaScript, and this is a great way to introduce them in a way they excites them,” Marler said.

“Schools are working very hard to include science, math and technology in the classroom, but with rigorous state and federal standards, there’s only so much time,” said Doug McDermott, executive director of the Farmington Regional Community Foundation.

“This initiative is just one way as a community, we can create and develop our own strategies to support formal education and provide unique opportunities to students who are developing a passion for lifelong learning and technology,” McDermott said.

“The purpose of a community foundation like ours is to connect donors to opportunities to make a difference here in our own community. This special gift from Big River Broadband will have lasting effects on the future of our students and the opportunities to build a workforce that is ready for growth.”

The Farmington Regional Community Foundation, formerly the Chamber of Commerce Focus on Farmington Foundation, was created in 1994, for the purpose of soliciting, managing and distributing private funds and resources to further the development and welfare of the people of the region. Past projects facilitated by the foundation include creation of Farmington’s Bicentennial Park, improvements to the Farmington Public Library and Civic Center, a variety of memorials/legacy displays, and other community enhancements.

More information about Parkland Programmers and future learning sessions is available at parklandprogrammers.com. To support the program or to learn more about the Farmington Regional Community Foundation and the ways community foundations allow donors to create lasting legacy in their own communities, visit focusonfarmington.org.

Big River Broadband is a full-service telecommunications provider offering wireless internet, telephone and fiber based internet solutions to the residential, business and education markets in southern Missouri. Big River Broadband owns and operates a state-of-the-art 4G LTE network which ensures customers high speed connections with the absolute best technology and service available. More information can be found at www.bigriverbroadband.com.

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If you are interested in donating or helping with the Parkland Meetup and Parkland Programmers to help drive tech growth in our rural go to ParklandMeetup.com or ParklandProgrammers.com or use my contact form here on the site.

 

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