An interdisciplinary project of New York Law School, Broadband Expanded
is a first-in-kind portal assessing the benefits of - and barriers to - more robust adoption of broadband in key demographics and sectors of the economy. Broadband Expanded
has compiled resources regarding the availability of programs and organizations that provide broadband access, training, and other services at the local, state and national levels. We invite users to alert us to similar efforts in their surrounding areas so that we can continue to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date, and useful tool for expanding broadband awareness and use across the country.Broadband Expanded
also provides policymakers at the state and national levels with comprehensive statistics and data, research materials and policy recommendations relating to broadband and barriers to greater broadband adoption and usage.
Minarets High Visit Website
This innovative, 21st century school located in Madera County, CA, opened its doors to a small number of students in 2009. By incorporating many of the emerging trends in education, Minarets High is seeking to fully engage students and prepare them for a future in the 21st century workplace. To this end, all students are provided a laptop, classes are focused on group projects instead of homework and lectures, and assignments are completed via online tools. Students and teachers communicate after hours through texts and video chat, allowing them to get the help they need, when they need it. In addition, the school library has been replaced by a media lounge that has been furnished like a coffee shop, with couches, large windows, and just a few rows of bookshelves. According to Emy Lopez-Phillips, the Fresno County Office of Education's director of instructional technology, some charter schools are heading in the same direction as Minarets, though most public schools are lagging behind. According to Barbara Bigelow, a district board member, "We're on the cutting edge. This is definitely the way that most high schools are going."
Pennsylvania Digital Learning Library (DLL) Visit Website
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Council of Chief State School Officers recently formed an education technology initiative focused on the development of digital technology resource centers connected to student data systems. Through a partnership with PBS and Penn State Public Broadcasting (WPSU), a Digital Learning Library (DLL) was recently launched in Pennsylvania, to be available to educators statewide. Through the DLL, teachers are able to access free, high-quality educational materials and collaborate and interact with other teachers. The content available through the online library is aligned with state and local standards, and is generated from both local and national sources.
According to Rob Lippincott, senior vice president of education for PBS, "We want to maximize the opportunity of the power of broadband. We think this is coming at a great time, [owing] to the recent announcement of the National Broadband Plan. We also wanted to help individualize instruction by providing multiple modalities of learning."
Elia Saikley - Innovative Educator More Information
Elia Saikley, an adventurer and filmmaker is undertaking a climb up Mount Everest and will be using social media tools to share the adventure with fifth- and sixth-grade students. In 2009, Saikley utilized Skype to communicate with students while climbing Cerro Aconcagua, South America's highest peak. The Everest climb will be shared via a non-profit web channel called While I Grow Up (WIGUP)
. Webisodes, blog entries, and live Skype conversations will be showcased on the web channel, and his position on the mountain will be tracked and displayed on the site. About 100 schools will be following Saikley's trek online.
Urban-Rural Connected Future Programs Visit Website
As part of the Urban-Rural Connected Future Program, three school districts in Muskegon, MI will purchase 250 mini laptops and provide intensive technology training to participating educators. Teachers will learn to incorporate new technologies, such as blogs, Twitter, social networks, and online coursework into their instruction. Participating high school students will be able to earn the right to bring the laptops home by regularly attending class, reaching a certain GPA, and taking a "digital citizenship" class that teaches them how to responsibly use computers and the Internet. The program will be funded by $200,000 of federal stimulus money, which will also pay for a wireless Internet "hot spot" at a local restaurant since Internet access is sparse in the city. The program is intended to reduce high school dropout rates and make it easier for non-traditional students to remain active in school.
A pilot project is already underway, testing the use of mini computers in two classrooms. Two computer carts with 30 mini laptops each are available for in-class use. According to Holton Public Schools Superintendent Ann Cardon, the computers and teacher training provided through the grant is something that "we'll have forever...It provides sustainability. Giving students this opportunity for digital learning, we can't pass it up."
Intel Teach Program Visit Website
The Intel Teach Program works to improve instruction through technology-focused professional development that promotes problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills among students. To date, Intel Teach has trained over 6 million teachers in over 50 countries, and is the largest program of its kind.
In Arizona, Intel Teach works with the Arizona Department of Education to train teachers to integrate technology in 66 participating school districts. Intel provides training for a core group of educators, who, in turn, teach technology integration methods to other educators. In the past, the program focused on software training, such as for Word and Excel, though now the program focuses on blogs, podcasting, wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools. Since Intel Teach began about 10 years ago, over 17,500 Arizona educators have been trained. According to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, "This effective program has been designated as one of the state's key initiatives for increasing the use of educational technology in Arizona classrooms."
Pennsylvania Research and Education Network (PennREN) Visit Website
Over $99 million in federal stimulus funding has been awarded to the Keystone Initiative for Network-Based Education and Research in order to help fund the development and management of PennREN, a statewide broadband education and research network. Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, will serve as a hub for the broadband network, which is the largest network funded by the federal stimulus to date.
PennREN will allow for data-intense research and global collaboration for universities and researchers across the state while also connecting underserved communities to the Web. Of the 39 Pennsylvania counties that will be connected, 22 currently have limited access to broadband services. More than 5 million individuals and 200,000 businesses will be connected by the network, greatly increasing service to last mile providers in the state.
Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) Visit Website
A grassroots open education project in its pilot phase, P2PU offers a variety of nontraditional learning experiences. Through the Internet and educational materials openly available online, P2PU delivers high-quality educational opportunities at a minimal cost. P2PU will offer a number of 6-week courses on various university-level subjects during the pilot phase. Course packages, organized by a volunteer, provide students with a syllabus, study materials and a schedule. Students will be organized into small groups of 8-14 students led by volunteers - and often field experts - who create course outlines and facilitate coursework. Participants will share feedback with one another and work to review and improve each other's work. Moreover, unlike with other open learning initiatives, P2PU offers certificates to show that a student has completed the coursework. The pilot phase will allow P2PU to examine various types of course structure, communication, and organization. Over time, the program will develop into a platform to expand access to anyone interested in organizing, designing, and offering courses.
Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative (OLI) Visit Website
Carnegie Mellon University's OLI is working to develop online courses that improve the educational experience. Through intelligent tutoring systems, virtual laboratories, simulations, and frequent opportunities for assessment and feedback, the OLI is enabling dynamic and responsive instruction that fosters learning. Ten courses have been completed thus far, and Carnegie Mellon is working with community colleges to develop four additional courses. The courses are intended to help beginning college students along through virtual simulations, labs and tutorials that allow for continuous feedback. The program has a three-year goal of 25 percent more students passing when the class is bolstered by online instruction.
Common Sense Media Digital Literacy and Citizenship Initiative Visit Website
A comprehensive digital literacy and citizenship initiative has been launched by Common Sense Media in order to provide educators, parents, and students with the necessary tools to develop responsible, smart, and safe citizens in the digital realm. The initiative includes a school-based curriculum for grades 5-8, a public awareness and education campaign, and a public policy strategy that will draw funding for digital literacy, teacher training, curriculum development and distribution to schools across the nation. The first phase of the curriculum component will be launched in fall 2010 in New York City and Omaha. Students will be taught to think critically and to make educated decisions about living and interacting with each other in the world of digital media. In addition, parents and educators are already receiving hands-on instruction about issues concerning technology and children's lives through the Common Sense Media's Parent Media Education Program. The free program is now being offered in over 5,000 K-12 schools nationwide and internationally.
New York Urban League Technology Education Center at Harlem Renaissance High School Visit Website
With a grant from the Verizon Foundation, the New York Urban League and the New York City Department of Education have developed the Technology Education Center at Harlem Renaissance High School. The grant will be used to provide Internet-skills workshops and Internet access to both students and the public. Students will benefit from access and training in the use of media and technology tools, while adults in the community will benefit from online resources for employment searches, educational opportunities, and accessing city services.
Global Technology Preparatory Visit Website
Global Technology Preparatory, a new middle school in Harlem, NY, utilizes technology to engage and empower students while teaching academic subjects in new ways. The school, which serves primarily low-income minority students, is attempting to bridge the digital divide for the 50 percent or so who lack a home computer and even greater number who lack home Internet access. By providing each student with a laptop, Global Tech intends to provide students with the differentiated instruction that they need, instill a sense of responsibility, and show that the students are both entitled to good schooling and capable of achieving. Through both the school's small size and technology infrastructure, teachers can more easily identify the strengths and weaknesses of students and more effectively prepare them for high school and college. For many of the students, technology has helped them remain focused and engaged in school. Global Tech's attendance has been listed at 95 percent and many students' individual attendance records have improved by a factor of two or three from the previous year at other schools. The school's technology-oriented curriculum has been funded largely by corporate donations and grant-funded programs.
Global Tech is one of 10 pilot schools in the NYC Schools Innovation Zone or iZone program, which is applying new approaches to education, such as the use of digital technology, to improve student engagement and performance. The program will be expanded to 81 public schools in the 2010-2011 school year.
Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) Visit Website
Based in Brooklyn, NY, OATS is a nonprofit organization that trains and supports older adults in using technology to improve their quality of life and enhance their social and civic engagement. Founded in 2004 by Tom Kamber, OATS employs a teaching model that is specifically tailored to seniors. Broadband, according to Kamber, has made his job easier. Increased Internet connection speeds have decreased the frustration of his students.
In its first two years, OATS taught 491 free classes and special seminars to over 1,170 seniors at nearly 20 locations across New York City. Over the last year, OATS has expanded and now trains upwards of 1,300 older adults per year. OATS works exclusively in senior and technology centers that are wired with broadband. OATS offers a variety of classes: a Basics class that introduces seniors to the computer and the Internet; Advanced class for seniors who want to continue honing their skills; and a Workforce Training program that prepares seniors to continue working or go back to work.
Technology Outreach Program for Seniors (TOPS) Visit Website
Students at The Science Academy of South Texas (Sci Tech) are teaching computer skills to senior citizens so that they can better communicate with family and friends and tap into the wealth of information found online. The Technology Outreach Program for Seniors program (TOPS) was started in January 2010 in the Rio Grande Valley to help ease the frustration that many seniors experience with technology. Thirteen teenagers visit Heritage Village on Saturdays and Sundays, holding two one-hour education sessions per day. Participating seniors have learned to connect their computers to the Internet, use email, bank online, download and send photos, make phone calls through Skype, and use social networking websites.
Principal Michael Aranda feels that the program is a boon for both the younger and older generations participating. "The students earn community service hours, and the seniors learn strong computer skills. The students and the seniors also enjoy each other's company, and the students learn things from the senior citizens through their stories. It's been a great experience for both sides."
Generations Online and United Way of the Cape Fear Area More Information
With a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, United Way of the Cape Fear Area is now providing free computer coaching for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Classes will be taught four days per week at the New Hanover County Main Library in Wilmington, NC. Students will begin learning with the Generations Online tutorial series and then branch out to other topics of interest. Generations Online includes an oral history project that allows seniors to communicate online with 9- and 10-year old students in afterschool programs. Fourth-grade students email participating seniors and can inquire about various historical events, inventions, sports achievements, and lifetime experiences. In addition to the Generations Online tutorials, staff is available to assist participants with using other software and online resources.
According to Program Director Phillip Hedgepeth, "We are very pleased to be included in this exciting and rewarding initiative. The Digital Inclusion Community Service Initiative is another way for our program to make a positive impact in our community." Sites providing Generations Online will be added in surrounding areas.
Benjamin Rosenthal Senior Center More Information
At the Benjamin Rosenthal Senior Center in Flushing, Queens, seniors are utilizing videoconference technology to reduce isolation and to socialize with friends. The City Department for the Aging is working with Microsoft to provide homebound seniors with free computers and video conferencing tools, while also educating participants on technology use. Through the program, homebound seniors are able to view and interact with others at the Senior Center, engaging in a number of social activities that would otherwise be impossible. Six seniors age 67 to 103 are currently taking part in the program. In addition to participating in social activities at the center, many participants are now beginning to explore Internet on their own. For example, Adele Lerner, age 103, now communicates with her daughter daily through Skype and streams live Sabbath services from her computer. According to Adele, "It completely woke me up." Similarly, Milton Greidinger, age 86 uses the Internet to contact old friends, chat with girls, and order groceries online. He stated that, "It's like going from comatose to back to life again."
Computers4Seniors Visit Website
The Computers4Seniors program offers affordable computer and Internet training to bridge the digital divide for seniors in Cobb County, GA. The program has been running since 1994 and now trains about 1,500 seniors each year at the five participating Cobb Senior Centers. Classes are taught by highly experienced volunteers, many of whom are retired IBM and Lockheed Martin employees with a background in technology use. By capping class sizes at just 6 students or less, the program fosters a sense of community among the group and allows for a more interactive, hands-on experience.
Computers4Seniors offers a variety of courses, including a seven-session computer introduction course and Internet-focused classes on topics such as email, search engines, and online shopping, among others.
According to the program director, Shelia Parkins, training seniors to use email is one of the most beneficial courses offered by the program, as it helps seniors get in touch with their families. The program has also been very successful in helping seniors adopt computer and Internet skills. Ms. Parkins believes that the majority of these seniors incorporate such skills into their daily lives by purchasing their own computer and gaining high-speed Internet service at home.
Connected Living by MyWay Village Visit Website
MyWay Village is dedicated to empowering seniors to connect with family, friends, and the community through the use of computer technologies and personalized support. The Connected Living program allows seniors to communicate with others through a simple online interface and easily share messages and photos, create a memoir, listen to audio books, and surf the Internet. With the help of Connected Living Ambassadors, seniors are also provided one-on-one coaching and group learning sessions at several senior-living communities. Support and coaching is also available over the phone for seniors and their families who require more personalized assistance. According to MyWay, the program has helped seniors to overcome depression through increased socialization and also provides the opportunity for a renewed sense of purpose.
Digital Inclusion More Information
Digital Inclusion is a project of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) and Senior Services America, Inc. that teaches computer skills to older adults in Tennessee. The program aims to decrease the intimidation that prevents many seniors from using the Internet and provide them with the basic skills needed to navigate the Web. According to UCHRA, research demonstrates that learning new skills can lengthen life spans and improve one's quality of life. Therefore, through digital literacy education, Digital Inclusion hopes to positively impact the lives of its senior participants.
Instruction is limited to just two to three students per teacher, allowing for one-on-one interaction. In addition, the program is loosely structured with no set coursework, and participants are encouraged to work at their own pace. The program typically begins with games and the development of students' interests in the Internet. According to Laura Speicker, Coach Coordinator, "I truly enjoy watching as people finally grasp the concept of the Internet. I can see them grow in confidence right before my eyes."
Get Older Adults Online (GOAL) Visit Website
Launched on April 6, 2010, Project GOAL is dedicated to promoting the adoption of broadband services by the older adult community. The project will promote the benefits of broadband services for older adults, including the health benefits of access to online information and telemedicine services, social connectedness, economic opportunities such as online commerce, and the independence associated with aging in place. GOAL will also attend to the many barriers to broadband adoption for older adults, such as the value proposition, usability, safety, and privacy of broadband use. Finally, the project will work to increase the impact of broadband adoption programs by connecting organizations at the national and local level.
According to Debra Berlyn, Executive Director of Project GOAL, "It's clear that having broadband offers great value for older individuals. That's why I'm so excited to get this projected started - to highlight the benefits broadband provides the older adult community and to work with other aging organizations to address the challenges."
Englewood Cliffs Senior Citizens Computer Workshop More Information
In New Jersey, the Englewood Cliffs Senior Citizens Computer Workshop is providing computer training and connecting seniors with 7th and 8th grade students from the Englewood Cliffs Upper School. The program began in 2004, and after taking a short time off was reinstated in the fall of 2009. The program provides a unique opportunity for seniors to gain valuable technology skills, while also fostering meaningful relationships between the seniors and the younger students. The seniors are learning beneficial skills, such as how to use the Internet and email, as well as operating Microsoft Office. Maura Ville, a senior participant, claims to have learned something new in every class. According to Ville, "There is a never-ending source of information, and these children have been absolutely wonderful." Eighth-grader Nicholas Yuan claims to have learned fascinating information about the life of his senior student. According to Nicholas, "The program is a good idea because we each learn about each other and the seniors can really use a lot of what we teach them."
FIT 4 Retirement More Information
A University of Alabama (UA) community project, FIT 4 Retirement is working to enhance the lives of senior citizens through information technology literacy. The program has partnered with the Tuscaloosa Public Library and Focus on Senior Citizens of Tuscaloosa County, and is working to garner grant support from national agencies. In 2009, the program won an Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort Award from the UA Center for Community Based Partnerships, as well as funding to continue work on the project. Through the classes, seniors are provided laptops and learn various skills, such as e-mailing, searching the Internet for retirement-related information, and communicating with family. Preliminary program data shows that the program is having positive impacts on the lives of participants. According to project manager Muriel K. Wells, "They're so eager and so exited to learn. Their exuberance for the courses made it more exciting for [staff] as well." FIT 4 Retirement researchers hope to eventually extend the program into rural areas.
SeniorNet More Information
SeniorNet works to provide older adults with training and access to computer technologies in order to enhance their lives and allow them to share their knowledge and wisdom. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1986 and benefits seniors through computer education, discounts on technology-related products and services, and research on the use of technology by older adults. SeniorNet also provides an educational web-site with a senior community that allows members to learn and share information and support with one another. SeniorNet Learning Centers have been established in a number of community locations across the U.S. and internationally, such as in senior centers, public libraries, schools, and hospitals. At the Learning Centers, seniors take part in "hands-on" courses managed primarily by volunteers. A basic curriculum addresses topics such as computer fundamentals, word processing, Internet, and email. More advanced courses include topics such as graphics, digital photography, and financial management using a computer.
Community Total Solutions (CTS) Visit Website
CTS is a volunteer-based organization in Marietta, GA that is supported by a broad coalition of residents, educators, nonprofit organizations, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. The organization is working to bridge the digital divide for economically and socially disadvantaged individuals in the Atlanta area through innovative Computer Training Programs and learning opportunities. Since the program was founded in 2003, CTS has delivered computer training to 1,250 individuals, instilling both basic and advanced technology skills. CTS offers an Adult and Senior Citizen Technology Program that provides a formal classroom setting for older adults and also allows them to follow self-directed lessons.
Mac & Windy Get Married Visit Website
The Julia Hull District Library in Illinois received a grant in 2009 entitled "Mac & Windy Get Married" to educate older adults and senior citizens about current trends in computer technologies, including software programs and laptop hardware. With the $21,700 grant and matching contributions from the Stillman Valley Lion's Club and the Friends of the Library, the library purchased 16 MacBook laptop computers, software, a digital projector, portable pull-up screen, mobile projector cart and laptop storage-charger cart. Technological education and skills training were then offered to local senior citizens at no cost. Due to the library's remote location, most of its senior members previously had few opportunities for technology training within and around the district.
CAST Community Vine Visit Website
Formed in 2009, this nonprofit organization works to improve broadband access in senior housing communities and enhance the ability of seniors to actively participate in and benefit from today's technology-centered society. The CommunityVine program provides underserved seniors with high-speed Internet capabilities, educational services, emerging eHealth "aging at home" technologies, and instruction on how to maintain personal health records. The three initial priority areas within the "Aging in Place" space include Medication Optimization, Remote Patient Monitoring, and Personal Health Record maintenance. Other CommunityVine activities include building and installing broadband infrastructure, providing personal computers to facility residents, and supporting computer and Internet use through initial training, helpdesk support, onsite volunteer trainers, and an educational center.
Senior Connects Visit Website
A youth-run nonprofit, Senior Connects partners high school and college students with seniors in order to teach them basic computer and Internet skills. The program works to promote Internet literacy among seniors so they can keep in touch with family and friends and improve their quality of life through Internet use. The students conduct classes in independent living facilities, senior centers, and senior apartments to maximize participation by those who are mobility-impaired or lack reliable transportation. In addition, Senior Connects provides centers and facilities with affordable access to computers and, in some cases, provides computers for those facilities unable to afford them.
Senior Connects is one of five core programs run by Net Literacy. The student-managed nonprofit organization empowers students to increase access to computers, promote computer and Internet literacy, and promote Internet safety awareness programs. The program has increased computer access to over 100,000 individuals, its Internet safety awareness program has aided hundreds of thousands, and it has garnered national recognition.
Quality of Life Technology (QoLT) Center Visit Website
QoLT is a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center based at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh that develops technologies to enable older adults and people with disabilities to live more independent lives and participate more fully in society. Its three long-term goals are to: increase individuals' employability and productivity across the life span; expand the range of environments that people can safely and independently participate in; and increase the number of people and number of years that they are able to live independently at home. To this end, the program leverages broadband technologies to support a variety of activities, such as virtual coaching, active homes, personal mobility and manipulation, and safe driving.
Georgia Tools for Life (GATFL) Visit Website
Georgia Tools for Life is a statewide program that seeks to increase access to assistive technologies for people with disabilities. The program offers assistive technology scholarships and donations in addition to training through hands-on demonstrations and workshops. In 2007, GATFL assisted over 3,000 people by providing them with training in how to use various assistive technologies. Via its ReBoot program, GATFL has placed refurbished computer equipment with over 7,000 people with disabilities since 1994.
GATFL supplements its work by partnering with Touch the Future
, which provides affordable, refurbished computer equipment and training to people with disabilities. Touch the Future offers AT demonstrations and other programs that seek to introduce people with disabilities to assistive technologies in the hope of spurring awareness and use of these essential tools.
DO-IT Visit Website
A University of Washington program in Seattle, DO-IT works to improve the academic and career successes of people with disabilities. By promoting the use of computer and networking technologies, DO-IT improves the independence, productivity, and participation of people with disabilities in education and employment.
DO-IT offers a number of programs that provide mentoring and peer support for high school and postsecondary students with disabilities. The DO-IT Scholars program, for example, provides computers, software and adaptive technology to college-capable high school students with disabilities who show leadership potential. These students are able to use the Internet to communicate with one another and with DO-IT Mentors in a variety of career fields to gain valuable academic and career insight. Through the DO-IT Pals program, teenagers with disabilities are able to join an online community to further their academic and career goals. In addition, summer camps are provided through the DO-IT Campers program to teach Internet, college, and career transition skills to children and youth with disabilities. DO-IT also offers a library of Internet resources to facilitate communication and provide access to information, free publications, training materials, workshops and events.
According to one program participant, "I learned so much about people. I also learned a lot about how to plan for my future - in college and in life in general. I learned a lot about how important it is to make connections and meet people who can help you. I also learned more about different types of careers that are available. I can't write everything that I learned; it would take too long!" Another participant pointed out that, "Mentors provide an example of how you can be successful in your chosen field despite your disability. I think that they provide someone to look up to. It's nice to know you have a friend who's 'been there' and who has been successful as well."
Holly Community, Inc. Visit Website
Holly Community Inc. (HCI), based in Salisbury, Maryland, provides access to community resources and support for people with disabilities and their families. HCI's assistive technology program helps people with disabilities identify appropriate assistive equipment, vendor information, and funding resources to support technology use. HCI also runs a computer program that brings technology into the homes of people with disabilities and supports their educational, career, and other life goals. Through the program, individuals who are unable to afford a computer are loaned a refurbished device and also receive training on computer and Internet use. The computer program helps to not only increase computer literacy among people with disabilities, but also empowers and educates them through improved access to disability-related information and the development of a peer support network. Through the program, HCI hopes to increase the quality of life for individuals who are unable to leave their homes.
UCLA Disabilities and Computing Program Visit Website
Through the Disabilities and Computing Program (DCP), UCLA staff work to support the integration of adaptive computing technology into university academics and to make information more readily accessible.
To this end, the program offers a number of services for student, faculty, and staff with disabilities. The DCP assesses individual technology needs and develops custom strategies for the use of adaptive tools. A short-term laptop loan program is also available for those in need.
Closing the Gap Visit Website
Based in Henderson, Minnesota, Closing the Gap is an organization that promotes the use of assistive technology (AT) and computers for people with disabilities. Via its bimonthly magazine, annual international conference, and extensive website, Closing the Gap provides helpful information that connects people with disabilities to the technology they need.
The program website provides a searchable assistive product database, comprehensive provider list, and directory of AT-related organizations and programs across the nation.
Computers Made Easy More Information
Based in Fort Worth, Texas, Computers Made Easy specializes in educating people with disabilities on how to successfully navigate computers and the Internet. Instructors utilize the most current versions of assistive technologies, such as screen readers and voice recognition software, to educate students of all ages. In addition, many students with disabilities have been hired to teach others and refurbish donated computers for resale. Currently, about 10 of the program's 15 employees have a disability.
Computers Made Easy is in the process of expanding its services to more corporations, nonprofit agencies, and the Hispanic market. The organization has donated computers to a nearby women's shelter and has been contracted by a local high school at a reduced rate. Computers Made Easy has also partnered with Undiscovered Abilities, a nonprofit organization working to teach technology skills to veterans and people with disabilities so that they can find resources and get jobs. According to Tim Haton, director of marketing and operations, "We're doing work we feel needs to be done."
Connecticut Tech Act More Information
The statewide CT Tech Act Project (CTTAP) increases access to assistive technologies in an effort to increase independence and improve the lives of people with disabilities. CTTAP provides a low-interest loan program to help provide assistive technologies (AT) to people with disabilities. In addition, CTTAP operates getATstuff, an assistive technology exchange that allows individuals to share AT devices for sale or for free. Similarly, the Assistive Technology School Swap is an online exchange for Connecticut school systems that allows member school systems to track their AT inventory online and loan unused equipment to other schools.
Further, CTTAP has partnered with the New England Assistive Technology (NEAT) Marketplace for AT demonstrations, short-term loans, and equipment recycling.
Utah State University - Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) Visit Website
The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University provides research, education, and demonstration services to strengthen people with disabilities and their families. The CPD has a number of projects underway to enhance the lives of people with disabilities through technology and the Internet.
For example, CPD operates the Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP), which provides AT services, training, and support to people with disabilities in Utah. UATP helps people with disabilities access AT devices through statewide device reutilization efforts and through low-interest loans and loan guarantees.
In addition, UATP utilizes distance education technologies to provide AT device demonstrations and conducts online training to AT provider programs across the state.
In addition, the CPD is working to improve the accessibility of web content for individuals with disabilities in postsecondary settings through its WebAIM Services project. WebAIM staff provides services such as training and evaluation to organizations, developing software tools, creating instructional media, fostering active online communities, generating research, and participating in policy dialogues. CPD also houses the Virtual Home Visit (VHV), which utilizes desktop conferencing to provide multidisciplinary early intervention services to young children with disabilities and their families. The project is funded through a Steppingstones grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Phase 1 of the project will "develop, refine, and test the feasibility of technology-based approaches" for providing intervention services to children age 0 to 3 and their parents.
Computer Recycling at IndependenceFirst Visit Website
A nonprofit agency in Milwaukee, WI, IndependenceFirst
works to empower people with disabilities through education, advocacy, independent living services, and coalition building. IndependenceFirst
operates a computer recycling program that refurbishes donated computers and provides them to people with disabilities who would otherwise be unable to afford one. Individuals who are given computers are also able to receive computer training and instruction on how to access and use the Internet. The program has a goal of distributing at least 200 computers each year, while empowering and educating program participants. Through the program, IndependenceFirst
is working to improve computer literacy among people with disabilities, increase awareness of disability rights issues through the Internet, enable people with disabilities to access disability-related information online, and empower them through the development of online peer support networks.
Learning Independence Through Computers (LINC) Visit Website
A nonprofit computer resource center in Baltimore, MD, LINC allows people with disabilities and their families to explore adaptive technology, computer systems, software, and the Internet. Since its founding in 1991, the organization has worked to improve the independence and productivity of people with disabilities in the home, school, workplace, and community.
LINC delivers its services through four projects, including: Assistive Tech for DORS Clients, FaST-LINC, House Calls, and Computer Music Camp. Through the AT for DORS Clients program, LINC provides evaluations, installation and configuration of AT, as well as instruction. The Family-School Technology Partnership (FaST-LINC) provides professional development for teachers, and software and equipment for students in "inclusive" classrooms in Baltimore City Public Schools. The House Calls Program provides services such as long-term equipment loans, computer configuration and technical support, and instruction in the use of equipment and software to adults and children who are unable to travel to LINC facilities. In addition, the Computer Music Camp allows children with and without disabilities to participate in computer-based art and music activities. The program allows children to their improve computer skills while gaining an appreciation for the arts.
Donka, Inc. Visit Website
A nonprofit organization in Wheaton, IL, Donka, Inc. provides free computer training and job readiness services to people with physical and visual disabilities. Through computers and assistive technology, Donka promotes independence and self-sufficiency among program participants, and enables them to pursue further education and employment opportunities. The Computer Training Program focuses on common business applications, such as managing files, sending email, and creating reports in order to prepare students for employment. The intensive and individualized classes are provided in a variety of instructional formats, with a student-teacher ratio of 2:1. Mobile instructors are also available to provide one-on-one training to students with disabilities outside of the lab. Local residents are able to partake in the computer program free of charge, thanks to contributions that cover the $5,000 training costs incurred per student.
iHOPE Visit Website
The National Stroke Association's iHOPE program provides online education to stroke survivors and caregivers. Free webinars are available on a number of topics, as well as several "Ask the Experts" live online chats between webinar experts and attendees. Participants learn about various issues related to stroke recovery, such as how to deal with different types of pain and mobility problems and the importance of self-care for caregivers. The Webinar series began in March 2010, and Q&A sessions will start in September.
Missouri Assistive Technology Program Visit Website
Since its founding in 1992, Missouri AT has worked to improve access to assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. A variety of services are available to Missourians with disabilities, including financial and device loans, device demonstrations, device recycling and exchange, and the Telecom Access Program for the Internet (TAP-I). Through TAP-I, Missouri AT provides adaptive computer equipment to help people with disabilities access the Internet and email. Various devices are available, such as screen readers and adaptive keyboards. Missourians with disabilities can also obtain assistive devices through a low-interest loan program, Show Me Loans, or the device recycling and exchange program, Swap n' Shop. The program's equipment exchange connects people with adaptive devices through a listing of "classified ads" and is available in six recycling centers throughout Missouri to ensure statewide access. Missouri AT has had a considerable impact on the 22,682 Missourians with disabilities it served in 2009.
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (RERC) Visit Website
Founded in 2001, the Wireless RERC has become a leader on accessibility and usability issues and solutions pertaining to mobile wireless products and services. The program, based at the Georgia Institute of Technology, strives to "promote equitable access to and use of wireless technologies by people with disabilities and encourage the adoption of Universal Design in future generations of wireless devices and applications." The Wireless RERC works to understand user needs through a number of activities, including inviting people with disabilities to participate in a Survey of User Needs, having representative people with disabilities assess the usability of wireless products, and creating an online forum (www.mywirelessreview.com
) that addresses the usability of wireless products. Such findings are then applied to develop next-generation wireless devices and applications that incorporate the principles of universal design. Technologies currently under development by the Wireless RERC include prototype systems for location-based services in public spaces and next-generation digital emergency alerts that ensure equitable access to emergency information over wireless networks and devices.
Trace Research & Development Center Visit Website
The Trace R&D Center was developed in 1971 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to meet the communications needs of people with disabilities. The program works to "prevent the barriers and capitalize on the opportunities presented by current and emerging information and telecommunication technologies, in order to create a world that is as accessible and usable as possible for as many people as possible." Through the 1980s, the Trace Center became a leader in making computers accessible to people with various types of disabilities, and served as a coordinator for the nationwide Industry-Government Initiative on Computer Accessibility in 1984. In both the 1980s and 1990s, the Trace Center worked with computer companies to ensure the integration of disability access features in mainstream products. Trace's research and development now focuses on the universal design of information and communication technologies in order to ensure accessibility for elders and people with disabilities.
Missouri Rehabilitation Center Visit Website
The Missouri Rehabilitation Center assists pediatric and adult patients in Mt. Vernon through the Assistive Technology Assessment Center and in Columbia at the Assistive Technology Evaluation Center. Individualized assessments, evaluations, and recommendations are available for individuals with motor or physical disabilities that have difficulty accessing a standard computer or communication device, as well as those with communication disorders and work-related injuries. Through evaluations performed by an assistive technology team, many individuals are able to use technology to overcome barriers in their lives at home, in school, in the workplace, and in the community.
Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technologies (COAT) Visit Website
A coalition of over 300 national, regional, state, and community-based disability organizations, COAT advocates for full access to broadband, wireless, and IP technologies by people with disabilities. The program was founded in 2007 to ensure that regulatory and legislative safeguards are in place so that people with disabilities have unrestricted access to evolving technologies
Illinois Rural HealthNet (IRHN) Visit Website
The Illinois Rural HealthNet is a high-speed, fiber-optic broadband network connecting rural Illinois hospitals with specialists at larger facilities throughout the state and nation. The IRHN will receive $21 million over three years from the FCC's Rural Healthcare Pilot Program to build and maintain this network.
A unique feature of IRHN is that it is also part of the Regional Development Institute (RDI) at Northern Illinois University. RDI seeks to improve regional economic development and develop best practices across a wide array of issues, including energy, education, and healthcare. In its first phase, the RDI will help to connect 88 rural communities to the IRHN network by 2010. Currently, the IRHN supports over 200 hospitals, including 80 located in rural areas and 52 Critical Access Hospitals. IRHN is also exploring the feasibility of using point-to-point wireless systems to expand its footprint.
According to Alan Kraus, Executive Director of the Broadband Development Group at the RDI, broadband is a "game changer." "What we're doing is a state-wide effort," says Kraus. "We looked at being able to put broadband at the center of healthcare development because we see it as an enabler, changing how people do things."
Arizona Telemedicine Program Visit Website
The Arizona Telemedicine Program is a national leader in developing and delivering innovative telemedicine, telehealth, and distance learning programs. Through successful partnerships with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, as well as state and local governments, the Arizona Telemedicine Program has worked to foster a high level of awareness regarding the benefits of telemedicine and e-health.
The Arizona Telemedicine Program currently utilizes both real-time and store-and-forward technologies to provide telemedicine services in 20 communities across the state. Innovative home healthcare programs are serving patients awaiting heart transplantation, patients requiring home-nursing services, and children in need of occupational and physical therapy. Two additional projects created by the Arizona Telemedicine Program include Project Nightingale and e-Healthcare Arizona. Project Nightingale is a telecommunications collaborative that provides broadband access on a cost-sharing basis across the state. E-Healthcare Arizona fosters collaboration among state agencies on various programs in disease prevention, public education, correctional telemedicine, children's healthcare and home health nursing. In addition, the Arizona Telemedicine Program will deliver 500 hours of continuing education to 34 communities via videoconferencing technology in this year alone.
Connected Pediatric Critical Care Visit Website
Children being treated at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children frequently require constant care management and assessment from a team of experts, including physicians, nurses, therapists, residents, and fellows. Through the Connected Pediatric Critical Care program, patients can receive the around-the-clock care they need, without leaving home. Six PICU physicians currently have videoconferencing units installed in their homes. When after-hours consults are requested by patients, the physician is able to videoconference with them through a portable telemedicine station at the patient's bedside. This allows the physician to view the patient, discuss with clinicians located on-site, evaluate the patient's condition, and make treatment decisions. Special cameras and scopes can also be installed to provide more in-depth consultations.
According to Natan Noviski, MD, chief of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, "Since launching this program, we are already seeing that the Connected Pediatric Critical Care Program is significantly improving the quality of care, team communication and staff responsiveness during evening hours and weekends when our attending physicians, ultimately responsible for patient care, have left the hospital to go home. Because the attending physician can remotely examine the patient and communicate with the on-site staff directly, decision making can be enhanced and the quality of care improved."
Telemedicine for Parkinson's Visit Website
At the Presbyterian Home and Rehabilitation Center in New Hartford, NY, the nation's first Parkinson's disease telemedicine program is offering access to neurologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The program was developed by Tony Joseph, administrator at the Presbyterian Home, in order to increase access to specialist care for patients with Parkinson's. The program allows patients at the nursing home to be seen by physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center (150 miles away), through videoconferencing technology. Before the program was implemented, nursing home patients had to travel about ten times per year to see specialists in Syracuse, Albany, or Rochester. Members of the Central New York Parkinson's Support Group reported that the long travel distance to specialists is one of the most difficult aspects of living with Parkinson's.
In the program's initial pilot project, participating patients saw significant improvements in quality of life and motor function, and overall patient satisfaction was higher. Moreover, after word spread about this unique method of treatment, the Presbyterian home saw increased interest in its independent and assisted living facilities, as well as its daycare program. According to Kevin Biglan, M.D., at the University of Rochester Medical Center, "Our ultimate goal is to provide high-quality, cost-effective care to Parkinson's patients no matter where they live. Telemedicine allows us to do this."
UC Davis Center for Health and Technology Visit Website
The University of California-Davis Health System's Center for Health and Technology currently provides over 80 clinic and hospital sites with access to more than 30 medical specialties and subspecialties, and has provided over 13,000 video-based clinical consultations. In addition, the center provides intensive telemedicine training to over 800 health-care professionals through a three-day workshop.
The UC Davis's telemedicine program was founded in 1992 to link the UC Davis Medical Center with a community hospital for tele-fetal monitoring. The program has since grown to include a number of innovative programs and applications, including video-based consultations, store-and-forward services, emergency room and intensive care unit consultation, teleradiology, video interpreting, quality assurance for sexual assault exams, and tele-home health.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center - Telestroke Network Visit Website
The Wake Forest Baptist's Telestroke Network is the first of its kind in North Carolina, and is focused on reducing stroke-caused death and disability. Through the use of two-way video, audio consultation and image sharing technologies, the Network ensures 24-hour access to acute stroke experts in partner community hospitals across the state. The network currently serves about 24 counties in western North Carolina and southern Virginia, and is working to bring around-the-clock access to expert stroke care in smaller communities in the region.
The network enables physicians to diagnose strokes, develop care plans, and take action quicker through the use of on-demand consultations. Remote physicians are seated at a control station that allows them to view electronic patient records and scans over the Internet. Physicians are also connected to an RP-7 Robot or RP-Lite system located at the patient's hospital, which allows the physician to freely interact with patients, family members and hospital staff.
California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) Visit Website
Researchers at Calit2 are developing a software package that enables remote monitoring and videoconferences between patients and physicians. The Telepresence Interactive Operating System, or Telios, utilizes simple web-based technology that is easy for patients to use and operates similarly to common applications such as Facebook and Skype. The technology could allow physicians to consult with patients via video, while observing the patient's weight scales, dermascopes, blood pressure monitors, stethoscopes, and even exercise bicycles. The equipment could connect via wires or wirelessly, and the software is capable of running on computer screens, smart phones and televisions. The software is currently being tested for use in senior homes, medical clinics, hospital rooms and prisons, with the potential for wide-ranging health and wellness purposes.
House Calls Telemedicine Program for Diabetics at NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation Visit Website
Through House Calls Telemedicine Program for Diabetics at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, over 500 people with severe diabetes have been able to lower their blood sugar levels and prevent hospitalization. Participants in the program learn to manage their own medical treatment through the use of telemedicine devices such as a glucometer, scale, and blood pressure cuff. About 76 percent of patients enrolled in the program for at least six months have shown marked improvements (e.g., lowered blood glucose levels).
According to Susan Lehrer, RN, director of House Calls, "Using positive reinforcement, recognition of patient efforts, and small frequent doses of education, the House Calls staff is helping HHC patients effectively manage their disease and gain the knowledge and confidence required to make the necessary behavior changes that result in improving their health."
Cleveland Clinic MyConsult Visit Website
A no-profit academic medical center, Cleveland Clinic has provided quality medical advice and treatment in Ohio for over 80 years. Through the clinic's online MyConsult service, patients facing a serious diagnosis can obtain a second opinion from experts. Physicians review the patient's medical records and diagnostic tests in order to provide a medical opinion with treatment options and care recommendations. Other online consulting services offered through MyConsult include Pre-Adoption Consultation, which helps prepare adoptive parents, and Nutrition Consultation, in which registered dietitians provide patients with personalized nutrition programs. Through the hospital's online portal, patients can also access their online medical records and test results, manage prescription renewals, pay bills, and make appointments online.
Columbus Fetal Medicine Collaborative Visit Website
The Ohio State University Medical Center and Nationwide Children's Hospital formed the Columbus Fetal Medicine Collaborative in order to address issues with high-risk maternal and fetal care while promoting shared education and research among participating organizations. The Collaborative offers parents and their babies a range of services and treatment options, including advanced diagnostic capabilities. Participating hospitals maintain their own telemedicine system, including large flat-screen panel monitors, high-definition cameras, and transmission technologies. Through telemedicine tools, physicians share videos of ultrasound images and live speakers/moderators, as well as other information, such as X-ray images, lab results, and MRI pictures. Telemedicine technologies allow for the immediate transmission of clinical information regarding diagnosis, treatment options and intervention opportunities, while also promoting consensus-building among the various clinical disciplines.
Binaytara Foundation Visit Website
The Illinois-based nonprofit, Binaytara Foundation (BTF) recently launched a telemedicine program to connect U.S. physicians with the Manipal College of Medical Sciences in Pokhara, Nepal. The project will help improve patient care and promote evidence-based telemedicine. E-learning and training will be delivered through video consultation, and physicians will be able to discuss patients with challenging medical conditions with experts in the U.S. BTF plans to expand the project to other Nepali hospitals and other developing countries in order to improve patient care.
mCare and the U.S. Army More Information
Mobile telehealth technologies are being used at the U.S. Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) to determine if recovery will improve for wounded soldiers who receive frequent contact from their case managers. Launched in the summer of 2009 with 100 soldiers, the program is planning to eventually accommodate 10,000 over several phases. Through mCare, a downloadable mobile application, patients, doctors, and approved third-parties can communicate with one another and store healthcare information on their phone. A Web portal dashboard lets patients provide various types of feedback, such as their sleeping habits and mood swings. Patients can also receive health tips and appointment reminders, which have proved beneficial. Preliminary survey results show that over 75 percent of users think it's easy to use and 90 percent stated that the wellness tips have been helpful.
Realizing Education and Community Health (REACH) Montana Visit Website
A consortium of healthcare providers linked through live, interactive video technology, REACH works to provide distance learning and medical link services through interactive telecommunications. The REACH Montana Telehealth Network connects its hub site in Great Falls to rural counties in north-central Montana with an average population density of just 2.95 residents per square mile. In 1992, the original telemedicine program began with teleradiology services at the former Montana Deaconess Medical Center. Over time, the program expanded to rural sites across north-central Montana with telemedicine and distance learning access. In 2004, the network was upgraded to IP-network technology through a grant from the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. Through advanced connection technologies, the REACH Tele-health Network is now capable of connecting to any site within Montana, the nation, and even the world.
Telepharmacy and the U.S. Navy More Information
The largest telepharmacy implementation in history is being undertaken by the U.S. Navy to address a shortage of pharmacists in the service. With ScriptPro telepharmacy technologies, a single pharmacist is able to remotely supervise the dispensing of medication at multiple satellite pharmacies. Audio and video links allow the supervising pharmacist to observe original prescriptions, the medications dispensed at the remote site, and stored images of the prescribed drug to ensure that patients receive the correct medication. Patients can also consult with the pharmacists through video technology. By rolling out telepharmacy on a large scale for the first time in history, the U.S. Navy will be able to provide more consistent access to medication counseling and analysis for its patients.
Virtual Dental Home More Information
The Pacific Center for Special Care at the University of the Pacific is working to improve access to dental services for patients in the San Fernando Valley through a four-year project called Virtual Dental Home. Many California residents with limiting physical conditions, economic disadvantages, and those residing in rural areas have a difficult time accessing dental care and, as a result, have significantly worse oral health than other segments of the population. By creating a Virtual Dental Home in various sites throughout California, Pacific intends to deliver oral health services in the locations where individuals live, work, go to school, and receive social services. The community-based oral health delivery system utilizes the latest telemedicine technologies to link practitioners in the community with dentists at remote office sites. Dental hygienists or assistants upload electronic dental records, such as x-rays, photographs, charts, and dental histories to a secure website, from which they are examined by a collaborating dentist. The dentist reviews patient information and then creates a tentative dental treatment plan to be carried out by the practitioner in the community setting. By promoting collaboration among remote dentists and community-based practitioners, patients who might otherwise lack access to the necessary dental care are able to receive the treatment they need.
Maryland eCare Visit Website
Through a $3 billion grant from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, six Maryland hospitals have recently united to form Maryland eCare and provide their patients with state-of-the-art technology. Through voice, video and real-time data, remote critical care nurses and intensivists provide moment-to-moment ICU patient monitoring to complement the care provided by local staff. Such care allows for the instant detection of changes in a patient's condition, and enables remote staff to alert and work cohesively with on-site staff. Maryland eCare is the largest collaboration of independent hospitals in the country.
A Project of New York Law School
Founded in 1891, New York Law School is the second oldest independent law school in the United States. Drawing on its location near the centers of law, government, and finance in New York City, its faculty of noted and prolific scholars has built the school's curricular strength in such areas as tax law, labor and employment law, civil and human rights law, telecommunications and information law, corporate and commercial law, and interdisciplinary fields such as legal history and legal ethics. New York Law School has more than 11,000 graduates and enrolls some 1,500 students in its full- and part-time J.D. programs.