SAN FRANCISCO, June 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Endless Network and Teach For America announced they will distribute up to 400 computers to support students' ability to participate in distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic. The computers run Endless OS, which provides reliable access to online content, curriculum, and apps through an asynchronous, or intermittent, internet connection. Students receiving the computers will be able to access learning materials selected by educators, enabling distance learning at home regardless of reliable connectivity. These computers are the first donation by Endless OS Foundation, a new non-profit organization launched by Endless Network, and are the first of nearly 1,000 computers being deployed through non-profit partnerships.
According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 14 percent of school-age children -- more than nine million children in total -- don't have internet access at home, and as a result are unable to effectively participate in distance learning. Lack of access to a computer and to reliable internet is an issue often referred to as the Digital Divide and disproportionately affects households in low-income communities. The digital divide became a major issue in the spring of 2020 as schools nationwide closed and transitioned to distance learning in response to COVID-19. Endless OS provides a solution for students by running customized apps that enable access to publicly-available learning materials preloaded from the internet. By harnessing storage and preloading content, it's possible to deliver core content and tools to students who otherwise wouldn't be able to easily use them.
With its expansive network of educators, TFA will help shape the pedagogical content on these donated computers, which will be distributed to urban and rural students in New York City, the Bay Area, Washington, D.C., South Carolina, the Greater Delta in Mississippi and Arkansas, and South Louisiana whose families lack computer access or reliable internet connectivity at home. Endless OS Foundation plans to work with additional education non-profit organizations and school districts to bring more computers running Endless OS to families who need them.
"What excites us most about launching the Endless OS Foundation is the ability to focus on our philanthropic mission, especially at a moment when remote learning and equitable access have become the key issue in education in every country, including the United States," said Endless OS Foundation CEO Rob McQueen. "We're now able to focus exclusively on this social impact, which has been at the core of Endless OS since its inception. By meeting our users where they are, we aim to bridge the technology equity gap, and empower young people, regardless of ability, income, or location."
"Beginning with Endless OS, we've spent the past decade deploying technology in environments without internet access, reaching almost 150,000 children around the world," said Endless Network Founder Matt Dalio. "Ensuring that every child, with or without an internet connection, has basic access to the tools they need to learn is essential to creating equal education in the United States; and through the Endless OS Foundation we will continue to help expand connectivity and access to communities with the greatest needs."
"Our country's transition to distance learning during this pandemic has highlighted the deep inequities in our education system, including the digital divide that exists in many low-income communities across the U.S. Students have already experienced major disruptions to their education, and those without access to computers or reliable internet at home are at greater risk of falling behind academically," said LaNiesha Cobb Sanders, Teach For America's Vice President of Teacher Leadership Development. "We are excited to partner with the Endless OS Foundation to provide laptops to students, and we're grateful that the Endless operating system allows customization, including pre-loaded learning curriculum and resources that can be accessed offline. With this donation, hundreds more students will have access to materials and tools that can enable their success in this new virtual reality."
Beyond its partnership with TFA, the Endless OS Foundation will continue to identify opportunities to expand usage of Endless OS and the critical offline resources built into the system. In addition to customizable learning materials, these include an office suite, video and music editing software, and coding tools, as well as a range of games that provide kids with a guided pathway to learn coding, like Hack, Terminal Two, and the Endless Mission. Because it is designed to function without internet access, Endless OS is also used in juvenile justice facilities where internet access is not allowed, enabling incarcerated young people to access learning materials and develop coding skills that prepare them for the workforce.
As a social welfare non-profit organization, the Endless OS Foundation will pursue its mission to empower the next generation, both through digital access and by giving kids offline tools to learn to code. This mission is achieved when every child has access and the ability to control their technology. To learn more about Endless OS and contact us about getting Endless OS for your school or organization, visit https://www.endlessos.org/.
Founded in 2011, the Endless Network is an independent collection of companies and initiatives focused on improving technological literacy, expanding internet access, and promoting coding education. By leveraging philanthropic efforts, partnerships, and impact gaming, the Endless Network seeks to meet the technology needs of underserved and unconnected communities while making learning fun and safe for all. Learn more at www.endlessnetwork.com.
About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with urban and rural communities in more than 50 regions across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today Teach For America is a force of over 60,000 alumni and corps members committed to profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they're reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, to grow, to influence and to lead. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
SOURCE Endless Network