Columbia, S.C. -- Today representatives from the South Carolina Department of Education and non-profit organization the Palmetto Project received an additional $500,000 for One Laptop per Child/South Carolina from corporate funder BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.
Commonly referred to as "The Laptop Project," the statewide partnership between the Department of Education and the Palmetto Project seeks to provide educational laptop computers and creative online learning opportunities to all elementary students in South Carolina to accelerate their learning, improve their academic skills and inspire greatness.
"BlueCross is proud to be part of the One Laptop per Child/South Carolina project. Computers – and Internet access when used with supervision – are great learning tools, even for the youngest child. We were particularly interested in seeing this technology provided to students who otherwise would not have had access to these great tools," said David Pankau, president and chief operating officer of S.C. BlueCross’ BlueCross BlueShield Division.
The Laptop Project began in November 2005 when Phil Noble, a Charleston technology entrepreneur, attended the United Nations World Summit on Information Society in Tunisia and was inspired by One Laptop per Child, an international non-profit organization created to give children around the world new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves. In 2007, The Palmetto Project and State Superintendent of Education Dr. Jim Rex embraced the idea and began working in conjunction with Noble to make the idea a reality.
Since 2007, schools across South Carolina have been selected for the project, by the South Carolina Department of Education, based on student need and the capability of teachers and administrators to implement the program successfully. The vision of the initiative is to provide every elementary student in the state with laptop technology by 2012 and give them the tools they need to actively learn and achieve success in the future.
To date, 2,300 laptops have been distributed to 14 elementary schools across the state, and beginning in the fall, the Palmetto Project and the Department of Education will implement a targeted initiative to assist communities in finding resources to bring the concept to their schools. In 2010, the program seeks to add another component by creating a statewide virtual learning center that will afford each child with the capability of online access to some of the most sophisticated educational enrichment programs in the country.
"It’s so encouraging to know that a large corporation like BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is on board with this project," said South Carolina Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Jim Rex. "It’s vital for our state to provide its students with innovative and new ways of learning while fostering an environment in which they are actively encouraged to learn, and this generous donation will certainly help us in achieving that goal."
"At BlueCross, technology is crucial. We run all of our business out of one of the largest data centers in the country. Our employees must know how to work with technology, not only to process insurance claims, but to do research, to analyze data, to innovate and to communicate," said BlueCross' Pankau. "With these new laptops, we hope that the students who will use them will now look at the world as their classroom and not be confined to the four walls and textbooks of their schools. Ultimately, they will have a better chance at growing up and becoming productive workers and influential citizens of our state. When that happens, it’s good for all of us."
One Laptop per Child/South Carolina is a statewide partnership between the South Carolina Department of Education and the non-profit Palmetto Project. The vision is to provide educational laptop computers to all elementary students in South Carolina — to accelerate their learning, improve their academic skills, and inspire them to do great things in their lives. Through this partnership, South Carolina is making a bold commitment to prepare its children to become true leaders in the global economy of the 21st century. To learn more about the Project visit http://laptopsc.org.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (www.SouthCarolinaBlues.com) is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and its family of companies include more than 20 subsidiaries involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program and Medicare contracts, and other insurance and employee benefits services