Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District

Sparking Broadband Use in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Public school students in the 7th through 12th grades in the Eastern Upper Peninsula region of Michigan lack reliable access to high-speed Internet at their schools. The Eastern UP Intermediate School District proposes to increase subscribership in the Eastern Upper Peninsula region by providing 3,500 computers with supporting software to economically disadvantaged students in Chippewa, Luce, and Mackinac Counties. Under the project, qualified families would receive vouchers for discounted broadband access through local broadband provider Lighthouse after participating in a workforce and computer training program delivered in partnership with the Tri-County Economic Development Agency and Michigan WORKS! .

The project aims to foster more advanced and robust use of technology by demonstrating the educational value of computers in the home, while communicating to parents and other community members the value of using broadband to support health, finances, and occupational training.

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BTOP In Action
Students in school library view PowerPoint on computer skills

The Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District in Michigan emphasized computer usage in its classrooms to improve digital literacy among economically disadvantaged students and families in Chippewa, Luce, and Mackinac Counties. The District encouraged more than 20,000 households to subscribe to broadband. The School District provided families with new computers to support students’ academic achievement, and educating teachers on how to integrate technology into their lesson plans and homework assignments.

The District believed that a key component of increasing digital literacy among students is to expand technology use in their classrooms. As part of the program, the school district hired an instructional technologist to help teachers identify ways to incorporate digital technology into their lesson plans and homework assignments. The schools now use cloud computing, educational websites, online lesson plans, and web-based software to administer quizzes and facilitate student-teacher communication outside of normal school hours.

Barbara Light, the district’s BTOP project director, said, “The impact of BTOP has been huge! It has provided both a catalyst for change and the means to make change. Due to the commitment of our teachers and administrators to 21st century teaching methods, the provision of computer netbooks, the support of our technology consortium staff, and the work of the instructional technologist, BTOP is transforming the way education happens in our classrooms.”

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