The Digital Divide and Coronavirus — time to make Lemonade!
Covid-19 has, of course, made the digital divide much more starkly visible and costly for lower-income learners of all ages. But, truth is, the digital divide has for some time made it hard for one-fifth of the nation’s lower-income and rural learners of all ages to learn, find out about and apply for living-wage jobs, and prepare and qualify for them. Digital equity is essential for educational and economic opportunity.
With your generous support, we can eliminate the digital divide, making learning opportunities even better than they were before the Coronavirus crisis.
Banks, credit unions and foundations have made it possibly already to purchase over 480 new computers for home use by lower-income K12 students in Manchester, with more pledges coming in. To learn more about or support the Operation Lemonade partnership in Manchester please see here.
Together we can make lemonade in Manchester!
Your One-Stop Shop for Free & Deeply Discounted Digital Equity Essentials
Through the links below you can:
* Purchase computers for donation to those in need in Manchester.
* Make a donor pledge enabling us to purchase and ship computers right away, on your behalf, to recipients you designate.
* Explore collaborating on a community, statewide or regional strategy to bring affordable broadband and computers to lower-income learners and communities.
* Help create additional tech support capacity in lower-income communities to support newcomers to home access to broadband, computers and online content.
* Learn how to access carefully selected, free digital learning resources or recommend your own and others’ stellar resources.
Note: Our Lemonade focus is to deliver devices and digital equity for learners in Manchester. We won’t rest nor move to help other communities until together we reach this goal in Manchester.
Here’s what we can do individually and together to bring essential digital equity resources to those who urgently need them. (Bank Community Reinvestment Act compliance executives: note that CRA compliance credit can be received for financing access for LMI learners and communities to all of the following resources.)
a. Purchase low-cost, web- and streaming video-capable computers for donation to low-income learners in Manchester.
* If you know where you want your donated computers shipped, you can use the sales portal above.
* If you want NCDE to help arrange distribution to lower-income learners in community(ies) you designate, please contact us here and we will make arrangements with and for you.
* If you don’t find either the device you want or the timing of delivery you need, contact us here and we will assist you in placing an expedited order.
b. Make a donor pledge to NCDE’s Taylor Fund so that we can purchase computers and distribute them immediately to learners in greatest need. You can specify whether you wish your donation to be a tax-deductible charitable contribution or, for banks, to earn credit toward CRA compliance . Through our line of credit, once we receive your pledge, we can place an order for computers within 24 hours.
You can send your tax-deductible contribution check to NCDE, 38 Elanor Way, Weare NH 03281 and please note it’s for “Operation Lemonade Manchester” in the memo. Or you can donate via the Please Donate button above.
For more information, contact us here.
c. Donate your Windows computers for refurbishment. If your organization has 20 or more used desktop and/or laptop computers to donate, we will gratefully arrange for our national refurbishment partner, PlanITROI, to pick them up and refurbish them for donation, at no cost to you. Planet ROI will completely erase each device to Department of Defense specifications, install Windows 10, sell it at a low-price, and use the proceeds to cover their costs and make a modest donation to NCDE which we can then use to finance free devices for low-income learners. For more information, contact us here.
d. For information about other providers of computer refurbishment, see AFTRR’s national locator map here.
***The entry-level new and already refurbished computers offered here might change in make and model over time, because of global supply challenges resulting from the pandemic. But with invaluable help from Connection Public Sector Solutions, the sales portal will enable you to provide lower-income learners with high quality, web- and multimedia-capable portables and other essentials for online learning at the lowest possible price.
a. Here’s a constantly updated list of low-cost and free Internet service providers maintained by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. Here also is an even more extensive list of Internet providers for low-income families. For those living in communities served by Comcast cable, their Internet Essentials program is especially highly recommended.
b. Kajeet is the national leader in providing low-cost educational Internet access in all areas where cell phone coverage is available. You can purchase mobile hotspots and deeply discounted educational broadband through this Kajeet link.
c. NCDE has begun intensively assisting communities and regions (e.g., the NH Broadband Investment Coalition) to spur investment of banks’ CRA funds, federal broadband grants and loans, and other funding to bring fiber to under-served areas and establish self-sustaining commercial and nonprofit services offering affordable broadband. Contact us for more information.
NCDE is partnering with the State Education Technology Directors Association, Rosen Digital, EBSCO, and Awato to rapidly prototype and scale proven community-based VISTA programs that teach low- and moderate-income (LMI) youths how to provide tech support for non-tech-savvy peers and their teachers, families and neighbors. Participating youths will, as needed, receive a laptop and home broadband enabling them to provide virtual support that grows their community’s tech support capacity, especially with regard to ensuring both that all families gain home access to broadband and devices and that learners, teachers and families become successful in e-learning. In addition, participating youths will receive mentoring to helping them and their families are “banked”, then learn how to help other LMI students and their families become fully banked as well.
In this way, NCDE’s new VISTA initiative embodies our vision for systemic inclusion — financial, economic, educational and digital — because we believe only systemic approaches will enable LMI children, youths and families to climb out of intergenerational poverty.
We stand ready to assist interested funders, school systems and communities launch local programs rapidly. We have launched an online campus to host online courses teaching youths the skills they need for their own digital and financial inclusion, and to foster these outcomes for other lower-income youths and their families.
Please contact us here.
4. Educational resources for K12 students and their families and educators
With profuse thanks to our own Susan Ballard, NCDE’s vice-president and past president of the American Association for School Librarians, we’ve begun developing a less-is-more list of starting points for high quality educational resources that students, families and teachers can trust. To recommend additional resources, please contact us here.
5. Resources for Parents, Educators and School District Leaders on Effective E-Learning Practices
The State Education Technology Directors Association has put together an invaluable, constantly improving compilation of resources on effective e-learning practices for teachers, parents and school leaders here. (NCDE is an affiliate SETDA member; SETDA partners closely with NCDE’s efforts to scale funding partnerships to remove digital divide barriers to economic and educational opportunity.)
Here also is another excellent resource to help those transitioning to e-learning: https://www.learningkeepsgoing.org/.
6. Covid-19 Related Funding Opportunities
There are also a number of important funding sources that may be interested in helping low-income learners be able to continue their studies at home while their schools and colleges are closed. They include:
- Granite United Way COVID-19 funding opportunities: http://www.graniteuw.org/covid-19
- Greater Nashua United Way COVID-19 Response: https://unitedwaynashua.org/home/our-work/covid-19-response/
- NH Charitable Foundation now has a web page for COVID-19 funding opportunities: https://www.nhcf.org/about-us/covid-19-response/
- Tufts Health Plan Foundation: https://www.tuftshealthplanfoundation.org/newsroom.php?page=press/COVID_announcement_2020