As the world comes to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing most people into their homes under a lockdown, the roles of many industries have changed. Education has been among the most impacted as schools around the world are closed. To help in one area, Google is donating Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots.
Specifically, the company says it will supply 4,000 Chromebooks and 100,000 WiFi hotspots to homes in California. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the program on Twitter.
According to California Governor Gavin Newsom, the donation will help the Department of Education. The tech will go to rural and low-income communities to help students in those areas stay connected.
“I am so proud of every sector of our state—private, public, labor—coming together to meet this moment. I am calling on other companies to match Google's investment today to ensure our students and teachers have the resources they need to continue their education during this time”. – Governor Newsom
Proud to work with @GavinNewsom & partners to help bridge the digital divide in our home state. We're providing 4,000 Chromebooks to California students in greatest need & free wifi to 100,000 rural households during the #COVID19 crisis to make distance learning more accessible.
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) April 1, 2020
School Out but Not Quite
Of all the talk of parents wasting their time home schooling, it is worth remembering schools are still giving class. While the physical schools are closed, educators have been using technology to continue teaching.
While that's good news for the ongoing development of children, it is hardly helpful for families who either can't afford a computer or are in an area with limited internet connection.
However, the Governor says California needs another 163,013 hotspots to meet demand. So, Google's donation is a welcome start. There is still work to do in the state to ensure students are connected.
Microsoft has recently made efforts to help educators and students. The company made Minecraft Education free and included an Education section in the Marketplace.