"Students today are raised on technology, fundamentally changing the educational environment and how students interact, learn and share," said Scott McNealy. "Continued focus on eliminating barriers to education by leveraging technology and the network will help bridge the digital divide and deliver world-class education to everyone. Today's students are the leaders of tomorrow and it is our duty to provide the education they need to shape the future."
During his presentation, McNealy invited guests to share the stage to discuss new collaborations and technology developments. McNealy introduced the Sun Center of Excellence (COE) in Scholarly Information Architecture and H. David Lambert, vice president and chief information officer at Georgetown University, who discussed the goals of improving the use of technology to further education. McNealy also welcomed to the stage Dr. Barbara (Bobbi) Kurshan, the newly appointed executive director of the non-profit Global Education and Learning Community (GELC), created to offer free, open standards based curriculum to increase the reach of educational tools. Kurshan shared her vision for moving the GELC forward and her thoughts on utilizing open source technology to leverage educational development.
McNealy showcased next-generation technology with the introduction of Sun Small Programmable Object Technology (SPOT), and expansion of the Sun Grid Grants for Education program. Sun SPOT offers a new, battery operated platform for development of next generation wireless sensor networks, robotics and personal consumer electronics that educators are already using in Java (TM) classes on embedded programming as well as in design classes for new consumer electronics. Already in use at Princeton University, the Sun Grid Grant program was developed to award 10 universities 100,000 hours each on Sun's grid based computing infrastructure, designed to enable accelerated innovation without the university having to invest in expensive IT infrastructure. Joining Princeton in utilizing the Sun Grid includes: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Binghamton University, State University of New York; Clemson University; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Southeastern Universities Research Association; University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Minnesota, Duluth; and University of Wisconsin-Madison.