Published Sunday, October 07, 2012

Device donations close 'digital divide' for Coweta schools

By REBECCA LEFTWICH

rebecca@newnan.com

Shenandoah GYSTC and the Coweta County School System are partnering to help address the “digital divide” in the county’s classrooms.

As Coweta schools implement the Bring Your Own Technology pilot program to get more technology in the hands of students in the classroom, a major challenge has arisen. Students who own smartphones and tablets are encouraged to bring and use their devices in class, but addressing the gap between those who have and those who lack is crucial for the success of BYOT implementation.

“Some students come loaded with technology, while others don’t have anything,” said Dr. Donald White, science curriculum specialist for the school system. “Enter Shenandoah GYSTC.”

Shenandoah GYSTC, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization is accepting donations of old smartphones and tablets in good working condition to help bridge the gap for students who otherwise would not be able to benefit from BYOT programs.

Donations to GYSTC are tax-deductible – using the same donation process and accountability as Goodwill and similar non-profits – and donors have the option of choosing which schools receive their devices.

Alternately, GYSTC will work with CCSS to determine where the donated devices will do the most good. Donations can be made at individual schools or at the CCSS Central Office.

After donors drop off a device, the device is reset to the original manufacturer’s settings so that all traces of the previous owner are removed.

“Our BYOT teachers are then able to use them in the classroom to increase the number of student devices at their disposal for students who don’t have a device,” White said.

To find out more about the program, contact Debbie Stuckey at 770-253-4632 or dstuckey@shenandoahgystc.org ; or White at 770-254-2800 or donald.white@cowetaschools.net .

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