New York’s public schools are currently closed in lockdown, and that means students engaging in remote learning – at least if they have the hardware to do that, although an alarming number of children don’t.
In fact, as Tom’s Hardware highlights, something like 60,000 students (or possibly more) in New York are missing out on schooling because they don’t have some kind of a PC or the ability to get online for remote learning sessions.
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Fortunately, action is being taken to remedy this in the form of Including You, an organization founded by Daisy Hampton, an 11-year-old from New York on a mission to banish the digital divide, and more broadly to “help reduce disparities in education and extracurricular experiences for all people”.
Hampton writes: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, when we started remote learning, another disparity became clear to me. Kids experiencing homelessness or who came from under-resourced homes were suddenly deprived the opportunity to learn. They simply didn’t have the computers and/or the internet access needed to be educated online. They missed out on a lot.”
Hampton’s solution was to implement a system whereby donations of hardware – or indeed money to buy it – can be made to help these students in a very unfortunate situation through no fault of their own.
In some cases, the 60,000 children on the wrong side of this particular digital divide in New York have been provided with hardware – such as iPads – by the Department of Education (DoE), but the devices have arrived broken or otherwise unusable (or indeed haven’t arrived at all).
Jennifer Hampton, mother of Daisy, observed that: “Many of the kids have broken DoE-issued tablets and, anecdotally, it seems that their schools have to jump through hoops to get a replacement. We also heard the chancellor say … that, like many school districts around the country, they are dealing with a shortage of supplies, so that is an issue, too.”
Including You is looking for donations of hardware including laptops (with a webcam and Wi-Fi) or desktop PCs, 4G hotspots to get online, and all manner of PC peripherals such as keyboards and mice or webcams. You can head here if you want to donate and support this very worthy cause.
So far, devices have been successfully delivered to 75 kids, and Including You has now been inundated with hundreds of requests for help.
Including You’s broader mission is to promote friendship and inclusivity, and to “mentor students who, whether due to disabilities or income inequality, face obstacles in their educational journeys”. Volunteer mentors aged between 11 to 17-years-old are also being sought for its peer-to-peer mentorship program.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).