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A new digital learning lab brings technology to underserved families in East Buffalo.local news

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Buffalo’s digital divide is closing with the opening of a new public digital lab on Tuesday at the Community Center in Crucial, East Buffalo.

Buffalo Urban League President and CEO Thomas Beauford Jr. said: “This is now a social justice issue, and he is also a civil rights issue in the 21st century.”

The AT&T Digital Learning Lab is equipped with 30 computers, new furniture, laptops, tablets and 3D printers for students and their families. After-school programs and mentoring will be available. AT&T offers a free digital learning program called The Achievery.

Located at 230 Moselle Street, the lab was born through a partnership between AT&T, the Buffalo Urban League and Dreamers Corp.

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Terry Duncan (left) and Kamiya Sadler (both 9) share tips with each other as they try out new computers at the grand opening of the new state-of-the-art AT&T Digital Learning Lab at the Community Center @ CRUCIAL. Tuesday, August 16, 2022 (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Derek Gee/Buffalo News

Dreamerscorp CEO Nigel Brown said:

According to Digital Bridge K-12, more than 11,400 K-12 students in Buffalo do not have internet access at home. This was a particularly big problem early in the Covid-19 pandemic when most students were attending school remotely.

AT&T created the New York Digital Literacy Lab initiative to help provide computer access in the digital desert. The company is launching his five new labs in New York, with Crucial’s lab being his second.

Supply chain issues caused by the pandemic caused some delays, but the lab was completed in less than a year, according to AT&T’s director of public affairs Kevin Hannah.

State-of-the-art labs have been set up to allow students to participate in programming such as videography, podcasting, journaling and game-making, Brown said.

“To have strong impact and results, you have to make sure you have a strong foundation,” Brown said. “The only way to do it is to have the best tools.”

The lab will be a welcome addition to the community center, which already features esports programs, community spaces and a gymnasium. Programs at the center run six days a week, after-school hours during the school year, and all-day programs during the summer.

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Amira Williams, 11, left, and Taelyr Duncan, 9, react to the grand opening of the state-of-the-art AT&T Digital Learning Lab at the Community Center @ CRUCIAL as they discover new capabilities in the software on their new computers. , Tuesday, August 16, 2022.

Derek Gee/Buffalo News

Fiera Green of Buffalo said her 11-year-old daughter Amira is having trouble reading at school. Especially during the summer months when kids sometimes lose the skills they learned in grade school.

“This is going to be great to help her,” Green said. “Now that we have that facility here, we can get her to the target school.”

Amira said the lab helps her be more prepared in her math class. She said she is excited about what the new technology has to offer.

“Good,” said Amira. “I’m looking forward to the new seats, new equipment and new things to learn.”