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AT&T and Explore & More team up to create all-new digital literacy enrichment program to help bridge digital divide locally


Mon, Oct 3rd 2022 05:25 pm

AT&T Digital Enrichment Experience at Explore & More to provide 3,000 third graders a free digital literacy fieldtrip program

Explore & More – The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Childrens Museum and AT&T have collaborated to create and bring an innovative hands-on experience in digital literacy to 3,000 Buffalo and Niagara Falls area third-grade students that attend tier-1 schools. The AT&T Digital Enrichment Experience launched Thursday, Sept. 29, with 45 students being the first participants engaging in digital literacy activities across the museum.

A press release explained the digital literacy education program has been designed to address equality issues in technology education; to help local students impacted by the digital divide gain digital literacy knowledge and skills that are key barriers to broadband and device adoption; and help narrow the digital divide.

“Designed to help improve student readiness and adoption, this program will help students build skills and confidence using technology and utilizing the internet in safe and educational ways. To eliminate economic barriers, the program is being offered at no cost thanks to support from AT&T, which is part of the companys $2 billion nationwide commitment from 2021-2023 to help bridge the digital divide.”

Explore & Mores AT&T Digital Enrichment Experience is a free, no-cost opportunity for groups of students from Buffalo and Niagara Falls public and charter schools to visit the museum to participate in this digital literacy program. The opportunity guides students through age-appropriate digital and technology focused activity stations throughout the museums seven interactive play zones and three educational studios, with different engaging digital activities at each stop. In addition, the program provides an educational video to be viewed in the classroom with teachers prior to students beginning the digital enrichment stations. The areas of education will cover computer programming, robotics and digital safety.

At the museum, students will visit four unique digital literacy enrichment focused stations where they will participate in hands-on activities and will receive a digital superhero-themed passport booklet to take home highlighting the activities and principals they completed. The areas of education will cover computer programming, robotics and digital safety. After completion of the station visits, each group of students will be provided a recap of what the children learned on the day of their visit, and enjoy a virtual wrap-up component to be conducted in their classroom. All students will also receive a certificate of completion.

In addition, AT&T is providing all students in the program and their schools access to The Achievery, a free digital learning online platform created by AT&T designed to make digital learning more engaging, entertaining and inspiring for K-12 students.

“Through this collaboration with AT&T, we are able to expand our STEM programming in a significant way. We are very excited to welcome 3,000 Buffalo and Niagara Falls third grade students to our museum to learn about digital literacy in a fun and hands-on way,” said Michelle Urbanczyk, CEO of Explore & More. “Offering this field trip to 3,000 students free-of-charge to schools furthers our mission of providing best-in-class play experience where all children, families and the community can explore, learn and develop together.”

AT&T New York State President Amy Kramer said, “It is an honor to work with Explore & More to develop this innovative digital literacy education program, which will help young students develop critical skills that will prepare them for success inside and outside the classroom in a wonderful learning and fun environment. AT&T is also proud to be collaborating with the local public school districts to allow even more students across region to visit and benefit from this outstanding museum, while helping to bridge the digital divide for these remarkable third graders.”

AT&T said, “Digital knowledge has become the new literacy and is the driver of all new global technology. With the growing demand to innovate, organizations across various industries struggle to fill skilled positions. It's projected that there will be 3.5 million STEM and digital jobs in the U.S. by 2025, underscoring the importance of providing the youth the tools and skills necessary to compete in this innovation economy.

“The urgency for more diverse technology trained employees is accentuated by the low percentage of diversity make-up of the technology industry. This alarming diversity shortage in the tech industry and the growing digital job market emphasizes the importance of providing programming like the AT&T Digital Enrichment Experience for youth of all backgrounds and economic situations.

“In addition, with digital literacy playing a significant role in the digital equity, this program is designed to help the more than 22,000 K-12 students estimated to be impacted by digital divide across Buffalo and the Niagara Falls regions.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “This innovative collaboration between AT&T and Explore & More places a much-needed focus on the accessibility of digital literacy for our Buffalo youth. Digital literacy is becoming more prominent each and every day. Thank you to AT&T for recognizing the economic barrier, and investment into our community.”

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “I’d like to congratulate AT&T and Explore & More Children’s Museum on coming up with a creative, fun and interactive way to teach STEM while also addressing the digital divide. As technology takes up even more space in our day to day lives, it’s critical that our students understand the wealth of applications possible and hopefully they will gain interest based on a way that technology resonates with them.”

New York State Sen. Sean Ryan said, "Digital literacy and a robust STEM education are important tools for children growing up in the modern world. This collaboration between AT&T and Explore & More will provide a fun, free way for students in Buffalo to improve their digital knowledge and practice skills that will serve them throughout their educational career and beyond."

Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Tonja Williams said, “Buffalo Public Schools wants to connect everyone we serve and with a focus on digital inclusion, literacy and equity, and the AT&T Digital Enrichment Experience is helping many students take advantage of opportunities that today’s increasingly digital world offers. AT&T and Explore & More’s commitment to providing engaging digital literacy educational opportunities to help bridge the digital divide and help with broadband adoption and usage is essential for enhancing the pathways to success for our future leaders.”

Groups interested in participating in the AT&T Digital Enrichment Experience may contact Explore & More Bookings at 716-655-5131, ext. 7071 or email [email protected]. For more information on the program, visit exploreandmore.org/digital-enrichment-field-trip.

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