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Poteau Boys and Girls Club: A community center that fosters learning outside the classroom

The Boys and Girls Club of LeFlore County in southeast Oklahoma is a fantastic example of getting a whole lot more out of a little investment in technology and rural broadband Internet. It recently replaced and expanded its computer assets — the Think Tank, they call their computer room. Now, with a powerful Kinetic Business Internet connection, the club’s commitment to childhood education as an extension of its community-based mission is reaffirmed.
This is why community Internet access in rural areas is important (and Windstream is committed to advancing it): technological and Internet network-enjoined efficiencies are supplementing childhood educations across Oklahoma and the nation. Whether it’s teacher access to open-sourced lesson plans or kids’ participation in online learning outside the classroom, the resources ready to go with rural broadband Internet are bountiful.
The Boys and Girls Club of LeFlore County in southeast Oklahoma is letting its kids know — school may be out, but learning is everywhere. Club CEO Arielle Perry says, until recently, computer connectedness wasn’t an asset of their after-school center.
“We had lots of odds and ends of used computers, a local business would give us their old computers, that kind of setup,” she says.
During the holidays, the club received several brand-new HP laptops and a small donation for services.
“Now, I have a staff who are able to use laptops for various work, and a separate room with eight laptops set up for the kids to use to do their homework, their STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] projects.”
From Perry’s vantage point, the computers and the rural broadband Internet are doing more than connecting a community center to the Internet. They’re forging the school family community partnerships that are the next revolution in education.
Connecting community centers to the Internet can produce a rush, literally. The Think Tank has become such a hotspot Perry and other adults wrote rules to keep order. They haven’t taxed the total bandwidth yet, but should they need to, the network pipeline to the club can be scaled up quickly with Kinetic Business Internet.
The Boys and Girls Club of Le Flore County’s after-school learning center’s network speeds and new computers work in conjunction with their public schools’ aims. Today, school children get usernames and access to school curricula through the district to read stories and work through activities on their own time, on their “own” devices. Some have called this “flipped instruction” — primary material at home that’s reviewed and reinforced in the classroom the following day.
“They use the Internet to further their education. They’re not just playing on it,” Perry says.
Even if computer work is not directly integrated into the classroom, community Internet access in rural areas fosters familiarity with ubiquitous platforms like Google, and plying that familiarity fosters typing and problem-solving skills that any college and most work will demand.
To check out what Kinetic Business Internet can do for your nonprofit or business, and what’s available in your location, click here.
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