Working through the pandemic

Addressing digital inequality
18th August 2020

Pupils in Scotland have now returned to school after months of being at home during the pandemic. Many people are using this change in tempo to take stock of what has happened, both professionally and personally, over the last months. 

This change has given us the space to reflect on what we’ve managed to achieve since March. This has been a time when addressing digital inequality has never been more important. We’ve worked at national and local levels, with hundreds of partners, supporting organisations to take steps to overcome the digital divide. We’ve provided almost a hundred online workshops. We have used Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and, despite the technical hitches, the drops in connectivity, the challenges with new apps to make participation more meaningful- folk have stayed with us.

Frontline staff understand how important this stuff is, and (so far) 722 people have committed to addressing digital inequality, and to sharing digital skills with others. It’s a network of digital champions.

We’ve also been lucky enough to hear inspiring stories. The brilliant team at Streetwork has talked about the immense difference connectivity and support has made to people experiencing homelessness (which is all pulled together in this amazing report here ) . Neighbourhood Networks staff have told us about the ways in which members have stayed active, involved and still managing to party despite lockdown, albeit online.

Through Connecting Scotland, we’ve worked with hundreds of staff from a myriad of organisations , who have shared their highlights of families coming together, of expanding vital community support, of helping people with education, employment, accessing benefits and so much more.

And, most recently, we have worked with Glasgow Clyde College to support staff in addressing digital inequality in further education which impacts on many students’ ability to engage with learning.

Anyway – that’s what we’ve been up to while the kids have been stuck at home. We feel lucky to have been useful, and want to keep the momentum going.