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Smartphones called in to help raise high school math scores
Posted: 05-Feb-2008 [Source: Qualcomm]

[Project K-Nect launches in select North Carolina high schools delivering educational materials via smartphones in efforts to increase student math proficiency levels.]

Jacksonville, NC and San Diego -- The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Digital Millennial Consulting and Qualcomm Incorporated announced the joint distribution of 100 Smartphones to four high schools in three school districts across the state of North Carolina.

Project K-Nect is a pilot education program using Smartphones with advanced mobile broadband technologies to deliver educational material to 9th grade students in Onslow, Durham and Winston-Salem/Forsyth Counties to improve math proficiency levels in the state. During today's launch ceremony of the project at Southwest High School, located in Onslow County, Dr. June St. Clair Atkinson, North Carolina state superintendent, Congressman Walter Jones (R- NC), Tim Magner, director of the Office of Education Technology for the U.S. Department of Education, Dr. Irwin M. Jacobs, chairman and founder of Qualcomm, along with other distinguished guests and program supporters, officially announced the beginning of this innovative project.

"We cannot expect students to prepare for life in the 21st century unless we provide them with the tools, skills and knowledge they need," said State Superintendent Atkinson. "Qualcomm's sponsorship of Project K-Nect brings new opportunities to students in our state and harnesses a common, state-of-the-art communications tool -- Smartphones -- to capture students' interest and to give them extra opportunities for learning mathematics. I am excited by the partnerships that have made this project possible, and I look forward to applying what we learn in other schools and districts."

The project will run through June 2008 and be followed up with an extensive research study examining the viability of utilizing Smartphones to increase student achievement in mathematics. Safeguards will be in place to assure that students are able to communicate only with authorized users and that they observe acceptable use policies for the Smartphones. The Smartphones are enabled by CDMA2000, 1xEV-DO and EV-DO Rev. A technologies.

"Qualcomm is excited about the educational possibilities of using advanced mobile broadband technologies in the classroom," said Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, chairman and founder of Qualcomm. "We are committed to working with our partners worldwide through our Wireless Reach Initiative to improve people's lives through access to advanced technologies."

The project aims to increase math achievement as measured by proficiency in state testing and improved classroom performance by improving the academic involvement of harder-to-engage students who have struggled with math. It also seeks to dramatically impact the current digital divide by providing supplemental learning through mobile Smartphones with high-speed wireless connectivity to students who to otherwise might not have access to a computer at home.

"The project represents a new and emerging trend towards the utilization of smaller portable devices to assist students in achieving their core academic goals," said Shawn Gross of Digital Millennial Consulting and Project K-Nect director. "We are excited about the launch of Project K-Nect and its effects on the engagement of students in math. The strong, positive support from teachers gives them a new look toward futures in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers."

The Project K-Nect partnership includes:

-- North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, implementing the program in four public schools, including Dixon High School, Southwest High School, Southern School of Engineering and Carver High School. -- Digital Millennial Consulting, managing the technology development, implementation, support services, professional development and monitoring and evaluation of the project. -- Qualcomm, as the primary sponsor of the project through its worldwide Wireless Reach(TM) initiative. -- Drexel University, through its Math Forum, is Project K-Nect's primary subject matter expert and is responsible for the design of all the mathematics content, curriculum development, and alignment to standards and professional development. -- Choice Solutions is providing technology resources, expertise in the architecture, design, development, testing and deployment for Project K-Nect. -- SOTI, through its MobiControl product, is providing tools to remotely monitor in real time all activities undertaken by the students on their designated devices. -- Florida State University, through its Florida Center for Interactive Media, is managing the development of all multimedia for the mathematics content available on the Smartphone. -- Psymes Consulting is the responsible agent for all research related activities associated with Project K-Nect.

Project K-Nect contributing sponsors include:

-- The Wireless Foundation -- The Futures Channel -- BrainPop -- Motricity

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 100 charter schools serving approximately 1.4 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

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