WorldGate has formed a consortium of companies to help bridge the digital divide in the U.S. The companies are creating an educational technology program called WISH TV.
WISH TV, an acronym for WorldGate Internet School to Home TV, gives fourth graders in Louisiana, Illinois and Ohio free Web access through cable TV for a year. WISH TV connects these classrooms to the home, so students can access the Web through their TVs and set-top boxes. There is no need for parents to buy additional computer equipment or separate phone lines. Some of the ways the classroom-to-home connection could be used are homework assignment postings, student-to-student communication via e-mail and posting educational links.
"With the power of WorldGate's Interactive Television solutions and the enthusiastic support of cable operators, set-top box makers, and school systems throughout the country, WISH TV has created a working solution to the digital divide. Connecting the classroom to the home is an important step to ensure that students, parents, and teachers all take an active role in the education process," Ken Nimmer, WorldGate's vice president of WISH TV, tells CEDaily. "WISH TV is making learning fun for kids, while giving them access to our greatest information resource, the Internet."
"What's so exciting about WISH TV is that it allows Internet access and email over a television set. Since virtually everyone has a TV and access to cable, the thought of introducing this technology into both the classrooms and homes of all students across America is exciting to me," said Congressman Billy Tauzin (R-La.), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Tauzin's district school is one of the beneficiaries of the program.
Also taking part in the program are cable set-top box manufacturers Motorola and Scientific-Atlanta and cable operators Charter Communications, Massillon Cable and Buckeye Cable System. WorldGate is developing the underlying technology for the program at no cost to the educational community. Motorola and Scientific-Atlanta are donating set-tops. The cable companies wire homes and classrooms and install set-tops free of charge.