Bridging The UK Digital Divide


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What impact does not having the internet at home have on 9 per cent of UK households?

COVID-19 has enabled schools to adapt to remote teaching with incredible speed, placing more pressure on households who do not have any connectivity. As a result, pupils who don’t have regular access to the internet will underperform when compared to peers who do.

Reviewing the problems

In an interesting report from an edtech provider [1] drawing upon data from the UK government and Nesta, pre-pandemic research of 250 primary and secondary teachers suggested:

Kajeet White Paper

  1. 49.1 per cent of teachers had never heard of ‘edtech’ or didn’t know what it is.
  2. 60 per cent of academy teachers reported that there was not enough technology training.
  3. and pupil access to technology was very much a postcode lottery.

Many of these findings will come as no surprise to teachers and parents, with many “using their own money to buy school supplies” to ensure pupils are not left behind.

School funding, particularly on edtech has been woeful. Post-pandemic, as schools navigate a new normal, tech-savvy teachers will continue using digital and remote learning tools as part of their everyday pedagogical approach to teaching and learning.

Ensure there are procedures in place…

In a new white paper published by Kajeet, the days of ‘visiting the computer room’ are a thing of the past. IT-integrated lessons are very much here to stay, with pupils far less likely to lose or forget tasks because content is available on the cloud.

So, what now for the 9 per cent who are still disconnected?

Inequality is already embedded across British society, affecting more than 4 million children. [2] to help bridge this disadvantage gap, catch up, extending the school day or reducing the summer holidays have all been tabled by politicians.

Something investment could have tackled earlier on, and one thing the pandemic has taught us, is that we can support teaching and learning through a connection, and students can learn at their own pace. This personalisation will also be hindered depending on work set, the support around them at home, and of course the access to technology.

Review your IT plan and inventory

The Impact of Digital Exclusion In Children's Education 2021 KajeetIt is clear, that teachers are already supporting their pupils where the technology is already embedded as part of the curriculum, and is threaded throughout the school building in a range of solutions. Cheaper devices, dongles and wifi hub devices can also help disadvantaged and vulnerable students stay connected when working at home.

We need digital equality and with more schools moving towards a blended learning approach, we must provide all students with the same chances to succeed, without these decisions become another postcode lottery.

Enabling internet access at home is not difficult or complicated, with recycled devices also an affordable option to consider when providing all young people with the tools to get connected at home.

The government must connect all corners of the UK, with affordable, safe and pragmatic devices, particularly for homes without a connection.

An edtech solution for schools starts with a coherent strategic plan which needs to be easy, streamlined and quick to activate.

Download and read the white paper.

Sources

  1. www.rs-online.com
  2. Office for National Statistics

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