Photo by LA Times
The digital divide is more prominent now more than ever. With school starting remotely in a few weeks, this escalates a greater need for students to have tech devices in which they can participate in online classes and be able to learn. Alone, the Covid-19 pandemic has “forced an estimated 97% of California’s 6.2 million students to resume their school year online.” We’ve seen how individuals and non-profit organizations are helping through monetary and tech device donations to help students in need. But how are big corporate companies implementing any efforts to help bridge the digital divide?
Recently, a press release from the California Department of Education announced that “Apple and T-Mobile are teaming up to provide California students with up to one million iPads.” With many schools experiencing shortages of tech devices to pull off distance learning, Apple and T-Mobile are fulfilling orders directly from districts. By the end of 2020, they expect to fulfill school district demand. Through Apple’s Professional Learning Team, they are lending a helping hand to California educators (e.g. teachers) by providing weekly virtual training sessions to accommodate any difficulties in transitioning smoothly to teach remotely. By offering one-to-one virtual coaching sessions and many creative techniques that can help with online learning, Apple’s Professional Learning Team can foster student’s virtual learning to be more effective. In more than 300 school districts nationwide, T-Mobile has connected hundreds of thousands of kids for online learning. Mike Katz, the EVP of T-Mobile for Business, states, “The pandemic has exposed just how widespread and detrimental the digital divide is for millions of children in this country … we’re committed to doing something about it, and we’re proud to partner with Apple to help the State of California connect up to a million students when they need it most.”
Big corporate companies using their power to help students receive the tech devices for virtual learning is a major contribution to bridging the digital divide we have today. Even using their voice to speak about the inequity of technology for students gives greater awareness of what is going in our world today. With having companies like Apple and T-Mobile to donate iPads to students, we can hope that more will follow suit and bring a bigger change for those in need.