Leeds City College plea for laptop donations so 700 students can continue studies from home during lockdown
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Despite a government pledge to provide a further one million laptops to disadvantaged students across the country to support them with this move back to remote learning during a third national lockdown - the college fears this amount won’t be enough.
It has so far provided thousands of laptops and equipment to disadvantaged students who don't have the means to work effectively at home but says it still needs around 700 more.
The college’s digital platform, Google for Education, is used for the vast majority of teaching and learning. If a learner has to isolate or work remotely, it means they can access resources, engage in their learning, as well as be provided with assessment and feedback by their tutors using Google Classroom and Google Meet.
However, Steve Hope, head of independent learning at Leeds City College said many students are not always able to do this.
He added: "We want all of our students to be able to access learning online while they are unable to attend college. Although we use online learning as part of the college’s blended learning model, many of our students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, don’t have devices at home. We also don’t know when the devices promised by the government will be available for colleges to request and obtain.
“So far we have provided thousands of students with laptops but we still need over 700 to ensure everyone can continue their learning at home. If your organisation has any old laptops or
Chromebooks that are no longer in use, you are welcome to donate these to us.”
In recent weeks there has been emphasis on primary and secondary school pupils who do not have access to laptops, computers or tablets so they can learn at home and debates over digital inequality but organisations such as Leeds Tech Angels and Digital Access West Yorkshire are trying to fill the gaps.
She said: "Digital and data poverty has widened inequalities in education and we know that it's harming some students more than others. Despite the incredible generosity of donations from individuals and local industry we know that many students still aren't equipped with the tools needed for on-line learning, with some trying to learn using mobile phones."
Leeds City College is part of the Luminate Education Group, and, alongside investing £200,000 as a group to provide additional devices and WiFi dongles, the college is also supporting student wellbeing by developing a range of programmes including a number of physical activities, societies and wellbeing groups to engage students with online enrichment such as Online Gaming Society, Online Stress Less Yoga, Black Lives Matter Group and an Online Parent and Carer Group.
For further information, to donate a laptop or Chromebook, please contact: [email protected]