Amazon and digital education charity, the Learning Foundation, visited Lilian Baylis Technology School, in Kennington, London, to raise awareness for digital inclusion, having previously donated £18,000 to supply laptops to the school through their Tech4Schools initiative.
Members of Amazon, the Learning Foundation, In Kind Direct and Teach First gave talks on the importance of digital inclusion following the rise of remote learning catalysed by the pandemic. The representatives also met with teachers who have been utilising the new tech as part of updated lesson plans and teaching methods.
The Tech4Schools initiative was launched in late 2022, supported by £360,000 of funding from Amazon, to provide electronic devices and tech such as keyboards and headphones to 20 disadvantaged schools in order to support digital learning.
As part of the scheme, The Learning Foundation’s online Community Hub has acted as a portal for teachers to share best practice, advice and Q&As, to promote the use of technology in teaching, supported by experts from Teach First and access to products and savings from the charity In Kind Direct.
The impact of Tech4Schools initiative will be evaluated, with help from Nottingham Trent University, to assess its impact on digital skills and learning outcomes, with a view of rolling out the scheme to a wider array of schools.
Elizabeth Anderson, Chief Operating Officer for The Learning Foundation, commented: “It was fantastic to visit one of the Tech4Schools beneficiary schools and see the impact that the technology and the initiative is making on the lives of their teachers and students. Digital is a necessity and that extends to all forms, including laptops and other electronic devices, connectivity, and digital skills, so ensuring that schools have access to laptops is an important part of educating the next generation.”
“Seeing the positive difference that the initiative has made on Lilian Baylis Technology School is fantastic and we are grateful to our partner organisations for helping to make this possible and providing the technology, which is a basic right, to their staff and students.”
“This is just one step in the journey to achieving digital inclusion and tackling issues of a lack of access to tech, connectivity and skills is a society wide issue, requiring intervention from government, organisations and the public to drive progress.”
Gareth Jardine, Senior subject leader (Sport and Health and Social Care), Lilian Baylis School, commented: “Students have now found it much easier to meet coursework deadlines as they are able to access Google Classroom at home and no longer have to use their phone or stay in school to complete home learning. Furthermore, this allows students to be able to effectively manage and ensure that they are able to achieve well in all of their subject areas as pupils can spread their workload with 24 hour internet access.”
Andrea Ravnik, Amazon in the Community UK, commented: “We’re delighted to be part of Tech4Schools, a fantastic initiative that equips young people with the technology and skills to fulfil their potential. It was lovely to meet the staff and pupils at Lilian Bayliss Technology School and see first-hand the impact the scheme is having.”
Friday’s event was attended by Elizabeth Anderson, Kate Towey and Adele Kersey from the Leaning Foundation, Andrea Ravnik, Wesley Hong and Nisha Notani from Amazon, Charlotte Walshe from In Kind Direct, and Rob Halkyard and Ellie Buckley from Tech First.