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Communal device drop points and Hubs of Learning

Local Authority establishment of community drop-in of devices by local people for local students to foster emergency remote/e-learning.

Photo of Joyce Elemson
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher

Tell us about your idea

Under the Covid-19 pandemic, difficulties and challenges have emerged leading to tough decisions by governmental authorities to close down schools under the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. As school leaders comply, face to face teaching and learning sessions are disrupted with the option to continue with remote/online lessons. 

The choices available to many institutions mean that teachers have to decide on the learning management system to use subject to the approval of school leaders. Thankfully, a plethora of LMSs exist, depending heavily on the availability of connectivity devices for the teacher to select for their pedagogy. While pupils are excited to engage online, it raises the provision of equipment and wifi for all: inclusivity - so that no one student is isolated or marginalised promoting equity for sll. 

Local government authorities with the disposal of funds from the national government to provide community services could establish community drop in hubs of unused devices by the local people for use by local people. These hubs should be manned by trained IT specialists who receive, record  and reprogramme laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and chrome books for wider use of any local resident. This practice is meant to eliminate any elements of discrimination, promote inclusion, equity and more importantly promote remote/online learning during emergency situations as defined by the local authority. 

The hubs must be located for easy access with good transport links and open to all, giving access to the mobility challenged. Disused industrial estates can be converted into large halls and designated rooms for students and local residents who wish to learn in silence, learn as a group or for the purpose of writing. Projectors and ear-pieces should be made available on demand for students who wish to learn as a group and to access vetted media files. Permission can be given to bring in ear-pieces in order to alleviate costs. The hubs while it may appear is functioning as a library, it is actually a point of collection of devices and for remote learning. The local authority is expected to provide full and stable connectivity for staff and users of the facility. Costs are expected to be at a minimum. Fees are not to be charged to any user whatsoever while prior booking is highly recommended for specific times. 

The provision can be trialled as a prototype, evaluated and then executed across the country for the benefit of the people. For emphasis, Costs are expected to be kept at a minimum except for the maintenance of premises and staff remuneration. 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Exclusive dependence on 100% face to face learning will henceforth be relegated to the past in favour of blended learning - a combination of classroom and online teaching. The concept of blended learning should be integrated into national education policy, shared with education leaders and well enforced to maximise learning outcomes. Enforcement must be clearly stated as a strategy to be embedded in each institution of learning for ease of teachers' pedagogical development. As inspections take place in schools, it is expected that schools present evidence of online learning and student engagement so that grading becomes two-fold: for classroom teaching and online participation. School leaders will be expected to review timetables to incorporate both classroom teaching and online learning which may mean a ratio of 30:70 a week in class respectively or whichever design it is. Students are expected to demonstrate a standard of online engagement according to the given ratio by the school

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

Joyce Elemson – co-founder UKAPES is a passionate Further Education practitioner. . Her involvement in raising the quality of education for disadvantaged students was demonstrated through active promotion of best teaching practice which has significantly increased student achievement in many low performing departments in 2 London Southeast colleges. In 2013, she established a voluntary teacher training project in parts of West Africa to improve teaching and learning quality. She has worked with over 3200 teachers across 100 schools in West Africa and continues to actively campaign to institutionalise professional development in the education sector. Joyce mobilises UK teachers of African heritage to transfer effective teaching and learning strategies as a mission of her organisation where she holds a database of over 10000 teacher members.  She currently works as a Curriculum Manager in a Further Education college in Southeast, London.

What region are you located in?

  • Europe

Where are you located?

I teach in a part of London that enjoys regular transport links to Central London. Enjoying a combination of wealth and deprivation, Lewisham's young people perform slightly below average due to many poor performing schools suffering from teacher shortages and frequent change in leadership and management.Crime is at an all time high, committed by young boys of single parents. Knife crime is not uncommon. Ambitions and aspirations are at an all time low because of a lack of male role models.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Gilberto Cardenas

Hello Joyce Elemson,
Your idea is very interesting. I can see it solving other unintended issues like managing e-waste. I'm curious if you've thought about partnering up with technology companies to ensure the donated devices can meet the needs of the students.

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