New technology labs unveiled for low-income students

The Gainesville Housing Authority, Cox Communications, the NAACP and several other community partners held a three-stage ceremony on April 16 to cut the ribbon on three brand-new On-Site Technology Labs – complete with new computers and access to high-speed Internet – in three of the Gainesville’s low-income areas.

Gainesville City Commissioner Yvonne Hinson-Rawles said during the event that in the near future, when textbooks are online and extra lessons are assigned to be viewed on computers, that the first to suffer will be Gainesville’s low-income students.

The labs – one in Eastwood Meadows on SE 43rd Street, one in Forest Pines on NE 25th Street and one located in the Woodland Park Boys & Girls Club on SE Fourth Street – were created to ease that transition and help bridge the gap in digital literacy between low-income areas and more affluent parts of the community, a problem that will only become more apparent as Florida nears its 2015 goal of complete digital testing and increased digital learning opportunities. The total cost for the three was about $40,000.

“As a product of public housing, it gives me cold chills to stand here,” said Interim Superintendent of Schools Hershel Lyons, “because I could have easily been one of those young men who fell through the cracks without the support of the community. I’ve been to so many classrooms and I’ve seen how kids respond to technology. When technology is incorporated into a teacher’s lessons, the results can be absolutely amazing.”

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