NEW YORK, March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it donated 45 Young Explorer™ computer learning centers to help the children of CUNY students learn key concepts in math, science and language -- while also making teachers and teachers-in-training more effective.
The devices were installed at 14 CUNY campus child care centers, including the Borough of Manhattan Community College Early Childhood Center, where the Young Explorers were demonstrated today. The Young Explorers will serve approximately 100 educators and thousands of children ages 3 – 7. The devices, which were installed with award-winning educational software geared toward Spanish and English speakers, are valued at $135,000.
The grant is part of a $4.3 million initiative by IBM to provide more than 1,700 computer learning centers and teaching curricula to schools and nonprofit organizations that provide services to disadvantaged students.
"The Young Explorer computer learning centers are a wonderful donation to CUNY's Early Childhood Centers. While the children are learning the important skills necessary for bright futures in good schools and good jobs in the Early Childhood Centers, their parents are benefiting from similar opportunities as students at CUNY," said CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
CUNY Early Childhood Center educators will share with colleagues the successful strategies and practices they develop for using the technology effectively. Like other such grant recipients around the world, they access the curriculum and other resources found on www.kidsmartearlylearning.org, the Web site that supports IBM's KidSmart Early Learning program, and for which Young Explorers are a centerpiece component.
"The best way to improve student achievement is to start with children at a very young age by giving them a strong foundation in basic skills," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM's Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM's International Foundation. "Research shows that access to these specially designed computer learning centers will improve the math, science, and language skills of children in CUNY's child care centers in a fun, interactive way. Adopting innovative techniques and technology are just some of the ways that CUNY is building a smarter planet -- and we are pleased to be able to do our part."
IBM works closely with CUNY on other education initiatives, particularly those that promote the study of science, technology, engineering and math. Initiatives include Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), the nation's first grades 9-14 school that blends high school, college and career in one. IBM has also developed a way for Queensborough Community College to better identify and help freshman studying science, technology, engineering and math at risk of failing or dropping out. The system analyzes a number of factors and provides alerts much earlier than with traditional methods and criteria. The school can then provide students with resources such as tutoring, child care, counselling and transportation services.
IBM's KidSmart Program
Young Explorers are computers housed in brightly colored, child-friendly Little Tikes™ furniture and equipped with educational software to help children learn and explore concepts in math, science and language. The computer centers can also help children acquire important socialization skills such as cooperation and sharing, which are essential to classroom success. In addition, teachers participating in the program become more confident about incorporating technology into their classrooms.
The KidSmart program also includes access to the KidSmart website www.kidsmartearlylearning.org. Available in eight languages, the site helps parents guide their children's use of technology and preschool teachers use technology more effectively in their classrooms.
IBM developed the KidSmart program in 1998 to help reduce the digital divide, especially in urban areas, where it was becoming apparent that children from less affluent backgrounds needed access to specialized technology tools and educational materials to better prepare them to enter school. IBM is focused on increasing the number of children entering into math, science and engineering, and believes that success in early childhood learning is a critical step.
Since the inception of the KidSmart Early Learning Program in 1998, IBM has invested more than $133 million, donating more than 60,000 Young Explorers to schools and nonprofit organizations in 60 countries, reaching more than 105,000 teachers and more than 10 million students.