In these extraordinary times, the £eithChooses Steering Group has been thinking about the ‘digital divide’ that separates those who can from those who can’t benefit from modern technology. We have put together a short paper – £eithChooses Tech Guide– which provides some basic guidelines to help charities and community groups to avoid wasting valuable resources and to deliver the most useful support to their service users.
Many people in Leith are unable to access the internet and so cannot benefit from online resources due to a lack of money to buy their own computer/laptop/tablet/smartphone, or pay for internet connections. Or they are cut off by a lack of knowledge and skills, or a lack of training and support. With the schools, libraries and other public resources closed, currently, and no staff to assist, they are doubly excluded. Being on the wrong side of the ‘digital divide’ is both a result of inequality and a cause of additional inequality.
Children in this situation lose out educationally at the best of times, and especially currently while the schools are closed, with teaching and learning moving online. Even when the schools reopen in August, it is likely that a proportion of education will continue online.
Many charities and community groups in Leith are very aware of this area of need and are trying to help, in various ways.
But before buying technology for someone, it’s important to check (1) whether they could benefit from funding through one of the government or local authority schemes, and (2) that the right technology is being bought. Nobody wants to waste money or effort getting the wrong thing, or something that won’t do the job it is needed for.
If you feel it could be useful, please download and pass the paper on to any of your colleagues, staff and service users, as you feel appropriate. The paper includes easy to read information on:
- Help with funding & Funding for education
- What technology to get?
- Access to the internet
- Tablets – iPads – Cheap tablets
Please note that the information and advice contained in the paper is offered in good faith, but may not be appropriate in all circumstances. It is obviously wise to also ask for advice from others who may be familiar with the buyer/user’s needs, and to ask the supplier to confirm that the item is suitable for the particular circumstances of the purchaser. It is also wise to get a receipt from the supplier, and ideally a warranty for the equipment. £eithChooses cannot be held liable for any consequences of equipment purchase.