Students at Selby College have benefitted from greater access to the internet and digital devices to support their online learning efforts.
Following the most recent move to online learning in lockdown, the Department for Education have provided laptops to the College, which will be distributed to students who are struggling to access online learning resources from home.
Vodafone have also donated 200 SIM cards, which will give each student 30GB of free data to access lessons remotely. The donation was made as part of Vodafone’s nationwide free data package plan, which aims to give 250,000 pupils access to education from home via its data bundles.
The College has also received a generous £50,000 laptop investment from the DfE, which will see more than 115 laptops made available to its students. This is a part of the government’s ‘get help with technology’ programme, set up to provide laptops and tablets to students who don’t have access to digital devices at home.
The DfE has also launched a data allowance scheme to help disadvantaged students in further education who do not have fixed broadband at home or cannot afford additional data for their devices.
“Whether students have adequate access to digital devices and home connectivity has been a grave concern for education institutions across the country since the pandemic began. Therefore, the DfE’s and Vodafone’s connectivity schemes will go a long way in helping to ensure that students are able to access the online resources and classrooms they desperately need, as well as engaging and interacting with their tutors and fellow classmates,” said Phil Sayles, Chief Executive and Principal at Selby College. “We are grateful to receive these resources, which are currently being distributed to our students who need it the most.”
The College’s IT department and Learning Resource Centre (LRC) are working to activate the sim cards and safely distribute the laptops to students who are learning remotely. Since the first lockdown last year, the College’s IT department, LRC and Estates team have arranged for hundreds of laptops to be booked out and safely delivered to students and staff for home use.
As part of the College’s enrolment process in the Autumn, students were asked if they needed additional technology to support their learning if it had to be carried out remotely. Students are also able to request help with digital devices via their course tutors or Guidance and Support Tutors (GSTs).
Drax Power Station also kindly provided thirty Google Chrome laptops to the College at the beginning of the pandemic. The laptops came with dongles including 30 megabytes of pre-paid data per-month to provide students with free internet access.
Ebuyer, a local employer of the College, has also donated a number of laptops for the College’s apprentices who don’t have access to a digital device at home.
The College has also undertaken at campus-wide Wi-Fi upgrade, which will help provide better and faster connectivity for students and staff when they are able to return to campus.