Vermont Council on Rural Development

e-Vermont: The Vermont Community Broadband Project

The Vermont Community Broadband Project plans to increase broadband Internet access and adoption in 24 small, mostly rural communities through a comprehensive effort combining broadband training, access, awareness, and planning. The Vermont Council on Rural Development and its project partners plan to train more than 1,800 individuals and distribute an estimated 1,200 computers to 4th and 5th grade students in these communities. The project will help teachers integrate broadband usage into lesson plans and implement a mentoring program in which middle and high school students help 4th and 5th grade students build Web sites with local content. The project’s awareness campaign expects to reach 300,000 residents throughout Vermont via local and regional radio, newspaper and TV news stories, program announcements, and other communication tools.

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BTOP In Action
IMG: Students use netbooks to learn about online resources

On December 21, 2010, the Vermont Council on Rural Development announced that it would expand its e-Vermont Community Broadband Project to 12 new communities, including Bridgewater, Calais, Castleton, Dover, Fairfield, Hardwick, Jay/Westfield, Middletown Springs, Moretown, Morristown, Richford, and Vergennes. Building on the previous success of 12 first round communities, e-Vermont began rolling out a broad range of digital literacy training and tools through its “e-Partners” and Community Directors to these new communities.

For example, one partner, the Small Business Development Center is offering workshops for local community members and small rural businesses with an introduction to how online resources can help improve their businesses. In addition, staff from the Vermont State Colleges are conducting workshops to build digital literacy skills in all 24 communities. The Vermont State Colleges also provide webinars on key topics such as Internet Safety for Parents and “train the trainer” programs for community members who want to learn to teach basic Internet skills.

Through Digital Wish, the e-Vermont project will help schools implement computer learning initiatives by leading digital literacy courses, offering sample curricula, recommending acceptable usage policies, providing basic technical support, and deploying laptops in fourth through sixth grade classes. As of December 2010, Digital Wish and the e-Vermont project had reached 665 students and 42 educators in 24 schools, and deployed more than 600 computers into the 12 first round communities.

The project also has a page on Facebook and Twitter with the latest news.

Last Updated: October 18, 2011.

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