Bridging The Digital Divide For Students

Denise Crouch

Denise Crouch

Times are hard enough for some students, without the added impact of the pandemic. In this day and age, there are still students who do not have access to their own laptop or tablet, an issue compounded by a sudden move to online learning. Students are depending upon schools, colleges and universities, to provide new types of learning resource.

What the digital divide looks like during a pandemic

Now more than ever it has become apparent that the digital divide is still an issue in todays education system. Students studying from home have relied heavily on the quality of technology and access to the internet, especially as more institutions continue to favour digital based education resources. This is not just about access to appropriate computing equipment, but also about access to reliable internet connections and appropriate learning environments.

This can have ramifications for students from a diverse range of socio-economic backgrounds. Those in remote locations, those sharing workspaces with busy families or in shared accommodation, and those with outdated computing technology, will all find themselves struggling in the new education model.

When lockdown meant learning with laptops and tablets

The education sector reacted quickly to move learning online when Lockdown was looming. Providing access to appropriate technology was paramount and many made huge investments in laptops, tablets and other devices to allow students to work from home. While this will have been a lifeline to some students (and staff), for others this will have only been half the battle.

Getting back to campus from remote learning

For many students getting back to campus will mean much needed access to reliable internet, study resources, and productive working environments. It is vital for Universities and Colleges to enable students to make the best use of the resources they have been missing at home. Providing access to well-equipped study areas is more important than ever. For some students this may be the deciding factor of whether to continue their studies in the next year. Now schools, colleges and universities will be providing much needed respite from the home environment, not just a place to nurture studies for the next generation of students.

Students using study areas at Wintec, New Zealand

How to bridge the digital divide

Here at LapSafe®, we are trying to help the education sector bridge the gap of those who have and those who have not.

Not all schools, colleges or universities can provide one to one access to devices, and few have the space to house large traditional PC suites especially with social distancing in place. The LapSafe® Diplomat™ is a self-service multi-bay locker system that loans a device to a borrower without staff interaction, making social distancing easier than ever.

The small footprint of the Diplomat™ means many devices such as laptops, Chromebooks, tablets or similar are stored and charged in individual locking bays. Saving valuable space with innovative storage solutions allows for more creative use of the spaces available to students and staff.

Providing a pool of devices allows them to be shared with students as and when they are required, not only during the working day but having self-service allows users the same access outside of office hours. The devices can also be made available in the evenings and weekends, or for extracurricular learning such as adult education classes and workshops.

Find out more about self-service

These challenging times are pushing us all to be more creative with our time and resources, if you would like to know more about how our self-service locker range can help you, then view our Smart Lockers