Many of us have laptops, tablets and mobile phones that we no longer use - they are still good, but we don’t know what to do with them. Help is at hand! The first phase of a new scheme, called Devices4Schools has been launched this week.
The scheme enables Oxford University staff and students to prepare and donate unwanted devices so they are available for Oxfordshire schoolchildren, by:
- providing technical advice for preparing devices, and
- putting donors in touch with a local school registered for the scheme.
Why is Oxford University doing this?
School education from home has become the norm since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, technology has enabled teaching to continue in ways that would have been impossible a few years ago and lessons for schoolchildren are routinely conducted using videoconferencing software.
But there are still many pupils whose education is suffering because they don’t have appropriate equipment, and this is not new. It is difficult to estimate the full scale of the problem, but according to the Oxfordshire Community Foundation, as many as 10 per cent of schoolchildren in Oxfordshire are at an educational disadvantage because they do not have a laptop or tablet. This translates to thousands of pupils whose life chances and future opportunities are being compromised, even without the pandemic.
Although children will return to their classrooms in the near future, home learning will likely continue to some extent – at the very least due to homework. Local teachers have also commented that an element of hybrid teaching may well be the new normal in school life going forward. Our scheme will complement other national and local schemes providing technical devices for disadvantaged schoolchildren, helping them achieve the future they deserve.
How do I donate my devices?
The first phase of this initiative is aimed at University staff and students who have personally owned laptops, tablets or mobile phones that they would like to donate to Oxfordshire schools.
Our guide How to prepare IT equipment for donation explains how to:
- check that your equipment is suitable
- make sure there are no licensing issues, and
- securely wipe your device to remove personal data/account settings etc.
More information about the scheme is also available, outlining where you can take your devices when you are happy they have been wiped. In the first instance, the scheme is working with a trust in Abingdon. Please ensure you follow government guidance on travel before setting off.
If you would like further information or have a device to donate and would like some assistance, please do contact the Devices4Schools scheme at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next steps for the Devices4Schools scheme
In the future we hope to extend the scheme so that Oxford University departments and units can donate unwanted machines and have them securely processed. The University is in discussions with Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council and the Oxfordshire Community Foundation to this end, and about expanding the scheme to help more schools across the county.