WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In late July, First Book released the results of a nationwide survey of educators that shows 40% of children in need in the U.S. do not have reliable internet and almost 40% are without access to functioning devices. The closure of schools in March exacerbated an existing crisis in education for children in poverty, millions of whom do not have access to enable virtual learning. These children are isolated without educational support and are falling further behind.
To address the issues of the digital divide intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, CDW-G, Intel Corporation and LEGO® Education and the LEGO Foundation have worked with First Book to build the Creating Learning Connections initiative. This initiative provides learning solutions designed to fuel education during this critical time by supporting several thousand students and families in Title I schools in the United States impacted by the pandemic. Students will receive critical at-home and in–the-classroom learning resources, including internet connectivity, technology devices and hands-on STEAM learning solutions.
"For most students growing up in underserved communities, without access to home computers or the Internet, learning during the COVID-19 pandemic ended last spring," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "Educators serving kids in need have told us that their students simply don't have the resources they need for distance learning. While school districts and teachers have stepped up in amazing ways to support their students during this time, leaving kids without devices and connectivity is the equivalent of locking them out of the school system. We are so grateful for the commitment and leadership of Intel Corporation, LEGO Education, the LEGO Foundation and CDW-G for helping us bridge the digital divide for thousands of children in need across the country!"
Through this initiative, Intel and CDW-G are providing a total of $5 million in personal computers, software, configuration services and digital learning resources. They are also providing stipends of $4,000 to each awarded district to address home internet connectivity for kids in need. Additionally, the LEGO Foundation is donating $2 million worth of LEGO Education solutions to support STEAM learning at home and in school. Districts will be invited to choose from three age-appropriate solutions to support STEAM learning for grades 2-8: LEGO Education SPIKE Prime, LEGO Education Simple Machines and LEGO Education Simple & Powered Machines.
"At Intel, our purpose is to enrich the lives of every person on Earth. COVID-19 has exacerbated the technology and educational inequities in communities of need. Now more than ever, it is critical that we come together to collaborate on our unique assets and capabilities to ensure that students have access to a meaningful virtual learning experience," said Brian Gonzalez, Senior Director, Global Partnerships & Initiatives, Governments, Markets & Trade Group at Intel. "Earlier this year, we pledged $50 million with our Pandemic Response Technology Initiative, which included supporting online learning initiatives like this. We're proud to partner with LEGO Education, the LEGO Foundation, First Book and CDW-G to ensure that children do not fall further behind due to the impacts of this pandemic."
"Providing students with technology tools and resources that inspire active learning, collaboration and enable better educational outcomes regardless of where learning occurs is central to our core mission," said Joe Simone, vice president of education at CDW-G. "We are delighted to help equip the grant recipients, and are proud to participate in such a meaningful program, particularly at a time of such great need for many school districts, students and families navigating distance learning."
As part of the grant, underserved families in 17 states will receive support, with nearly 15,000 devices and 7,500 LEGO Education solutions being delivered to 45 School Districts.
"This grant illustrates the critical need for, but also the power of teaching with, technology and hands-on solutions to engage and inspire students wherever and however they are learning. It's never been more important to provide as many students as possible with playful learning opportunities that can help build their confidence and ultimately inspire a lifelong love of learning," said Esben Stærk, president of LEGO Education. "We look forward to seeing all that these well-deserving teachers and students are able to achieve with the resources provided through this program. From making a mistake and trying again, to overcoming challenging circumstances, kids teach us the important lesson that with creativity and resilience, you can always rebuild, thrive, and succeed."
The application period ran May 19 through June 5 and 128 school districts applied. Through a multi-phase review process forty-five school districts from around the country were selected to receive grants in the fall. Schools that were not selected to receive the grant will receive $500 from Intel for use at the First Book Marketplace to purchase new, high-quality books and educational resources for their students.
About First Book Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1992 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is a leader in the educational equity field. Over its nearly 30-year history, First Book has distributed more than 200 million books and educational resources, with a retail value of more than $2.0 billion. First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by providing its network of more than 475,000 registered teachers, librarians, after school program leaders, and others serving children in need with millions of free and affordable new, high-quality books, educational resources, and basic needs items through the award-winning First Book Marketplace nonprofit eCommerce site. All formal and informal educators serving children in poverty are encouraged to join the First Book Network, the largest and fastest-growing community of their peers, here.
First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator, which brings best-in-class research to the classroom via relevant, usable educator resources. First Book Impact Funds target support to areas of particular need, such as rural communities or increasing diversity in children's books.
About CDW-G CDW Government (CDW-G) is a wholly owned subsidiary of CDW Corporation (Nasdaq: CDW). CDW is a leading multi-brand technology solutions provider to government, education and healthcare organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. For more information about CDW-G, please visit www.cdwg.com.
About Intel Corporation Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore's Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers' greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better. To learn more about Intel's innovations, go to newsroom.intel.com and intel.com.
About LEGO Education LEGO® Education offers hands-on, playful STEAM learning experiences based on the LEGO® system of bricks, hardware, software and content for students and their teachers in early learning, primary, and secondary education as well as through after-school programs and competitions. These solutions create an environment for active, collaborative learning where students build skills for their future, a lifelong love for learning and confidence in their ability to learn and solve problems, setting them up for lifelong success.
About the LEGO Foundation The LEGO Foundation aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow; a mission that it shares with the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to building a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. Its work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning. In collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents the LEGO Foundation aims to equip, inspire and activate champions for learning through play. Learn more on www.LEGOfoundation.com.