In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day. It’s their normal life. But in other part of the world, we are starving for education… it’s like a precious gift. It’s like a diamond.
The 2020 school year was one of the earliest victims of the novel coronavirus. Schools were closed and classes cancelled. Soon to be graduates panicked about missing finals. Parents who still had to work scrambled for child care options. And learning moved into the home.
If you are like me, you don’t homeschool for a DAMN GOOD REASON. Teaching is a vocation (an under-appreciated and criminaly underpaid vocation.) Most teachers have a MASTERS degree. I have an Associates degree in commercial photography from 2002 and couldn’t tell you where it even is right now. I’m not qualified to teach my kids anything that will get them past the standardized testing gauntlet.
Luckily for us the Hellions go to a pretty nice public school and our school district is working extra hard to provide kids with alternative learning options. We’re all becoming familiar with the ins and outs of online learning software like Schoology, and our little HP Envy, (heartily endorsed, best budget printer we have ever owned,) is working overtime. It’s actually pretty amazing when you see it all working well.
But the current crisis is also throwing the digital divide in access to internet communications technology into sharp relief. Not everyone has access to broadband internet for Zoom classes. Heck, not everyone has access to a wireless device or home computer. Thousands of New York City don’t have access to remote learning tools.
Folks are stepping up though. In Seattle,director of learning programs for Minecraft Education, Adam Tratt and his wife Deborah Rappaport, (a senior program manager for Microsoft’s Azure,) have put our a call for the donation of used laptops and tablets to help make sure every kid has the chance to do homework while school is closed… yay?
Nobody really knows exactly what’s going to happen and the need, especially for high school and middle school students, remains acute,” Tratt said Monday. “So my hypothesis is that in a city like Seattle where so many of us work in tech and so many of us have had a new laptop every two years for one reason or another, there are lots of perfectly good [machines] that are just sitting on people’s shelves collecting dust.
If you’ve got an iPad or old laptop taking up shelf space, reach out to your local school district to see if they could use the help.
Stay safe and sane folks!