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Making the fundamentals accessible

Devices (laptops, tablets) and wifi are not accessible to everyone creating an even larger divide

Photo of Renada Beckwith
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Auntie!

Tell us about your idea

This pandemic has closed libraries along with schools making it to where many kids no longer have access to devices to access their schooling and/or wifi thus not even being able to make the connection to a digital platform.  Both are fundamentals in this digital age that we now live in. Yet both are very expensive.  The pandemic is exposing a growing economic divide as parents struggle to find creative ways to submit their child's work on their phone in parking lot spaces that have free wifi.  

My ideas are #1 Google, Apple, Facebook, Intel, Amazon, AMD can all find a way to make laptops and/or tablets with keyboards much cheaper if not free to students who are enrolled in school. Intel and AMD (the chipmakers) can partner with Google and Apple to make the devices at a lower cost or donate the cost whilst Facebook and Amazon can either add in funds or distribute the devices. Idea #2 is to take a page from Barcelona, Spain where wifi is free almost everywhere.  Their city council launched Barcelona's wifi.  This is a matter that potentially local city councils can adopt through a partnership with an internet service provider. 

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

Starting a school year and not having checked off that every child is prepared to have a successful school year

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

I've volunteered in under served schools and also I have a certification in Big Data and Data Analytics.  Its clear to me that many people will be left behind as the Digital Age continues to evolve.  People will be left behind because of lack of learning agility which is a muscle that is built from childhood and because of lack of access to devices and wifi (and I'll add lack of access to energy, clean water and healthy food).  

Listening to Aspen Ideas To Go podcast episode called "Digital Access: The Haves and Have Nots" and Mayor London Breed at All In Together with Aspen Ideas Now virtual townhall called Women on the Ballot 2020 both are inspirational on this thinking.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Houston Texas USA


Join the conversation:

Photo of Virginia Brackett

Renada, I really like your focus on the lack of access to wifi, as electronic delivery is the future of education.

Photo of Renada Beckwith

Thank you, Virginia Brackett . Your words are encouraging. And thanks to this open challenge, whether this idea moves forward to the next stage or not, I'm likely going to reach out to the Houston city council to try to make it happen.