(Dover, VT) Fourth, fifth and sixth-grade students at Dover Elementary got more than just a taste of technology this year with the help of Digital Wish and e-Vermont. Heading into this program, Digital Wish had high hopes that they would not only affect the more than 1,200 students they outfitted with Dell netbooks but that the students would take their new knowledge home and impart it upon their families and other members of the community. In Dover, that hope was not just met but exceeded. Just ask Stefanie Nick, mother of Isabella Nick, a fifth grader taking part in Digital Wish’s 1:1 computing initiative at Dover Elementary School.

“I work for a women’s scarf company and everything is manufactured over in China. The designs are done with designers here and in China, and then we import everything. We have come up with a web album that is sent out to all of our salespeople and also to some stores of ours. I have the hardest time with the web album,” explained Stefanie.

Because of Digital Wish’s involvement in her classroom, Bella was able to expand her mother’s ability to communicate with her team in China via digital media. Stephanie said, “Bella came in to work one day saying she was putting together a presentation for school and she was doing it in Picasa. She came in and she was so excited to tell all of us at work about it. All of us just looked at her and our mouths dropped open because none of us can figure out what we were actually doing on Picasa and we said ‘Isabella! You’re going to have to teach us!’” And she did, with an entire slideshow presentation.

Isabella has been bringing her netbook home since the beginning of the school year and, since then, Stefanie has noticed a completely new level of excitement in Bella, stating, “I think it’s great that she can actually show us what she’s learning and what she’s doing – it’s wonderful. The world is at her fingertips and she can get all of that information together and be able to use it in an efficient manner. I also think that I never had those opportunities. I work a lot with people in China and all over the world but I never had that opportunity to really share that information and now it’s just so fast. And she’s going to be used to it! It’s there, that’s what it is. I love that excitement she brings home telling us about it.”

Stefanie sees the vast impact that 1:1 computing will have on the future of a rural Vermont. “I don’t see a world without it and it’s so important – especially in a rural area, like Dover – that every child gets the same opportunities that other people have. I see it going forward and can’t imagine what these children’s lives will be in ten or twenty years. To not be afraid and be able to use technology as second nature is so important to their future.”

Technology is here to stay and learning about it at an early age can really help a child prepare for the future. With the grant from Digital Wish and e-Vermont, Dover Elementary received technology training and 35 netbooks that they will continue to use in their fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade classrooms for the upcoming years.