Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Great Computer Program for Immigrant Families

This is Larry Ferlazzo. He and I met yesterday to talk about the fascinating, and effective, program he has overseen at Luther Burbank High School where they have provided computers and Internet access to almost 50 immigrant families. It just so turned out that the Sacramento Bee has profiled his program this morning:

http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/489709.html (requires free registration).

Larry's program is amazing, and largely centers of an agreement by the family members to use the computer for a certain number of hours to access some of the 8,000 sites he has organized for the learning of English. The results, he says, are measurable and significant, and because of this he expects the program to continue to get recognition and grow. (Larry is the grand prize winner of the 2007 International Reading Association Presidential Award for Reading and Technology. See http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=193401813)

Since Larry's program is solely web-based, he and I brainstormed the opportunity to duplicate the results without some of the same expenses that his district has to incur because of their contracting procedures. We guessed that comparable success could be achieved for about 1/4 the cost by using refurbished computers and Linux/Firefox--and at the same time building a small jobs and recycling program. Talk about a win-win-win for a city. Now, this is a project I could really get excited about.

Way to go, Larry!
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