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Ready & Relevant: Tech lending

Sep 4, 2020 : Articles
A computer keyboard backlit in blue

The pandemic brought about a substantial a shift in our teaching methods. In mid-March, we pivoted to an online-only model. First launching YouTube channels, Google Classrooms, instructional videos for volunteer tutors, and later in the spring, live Zoom classes. While many students embraced this new way of learning, we knew that students were being left behind because of limited access to technology.

While some students may have smartphones, compelling new evidence indicates that they face major academic disadvantages compared to their peers who have a home computer and broadband access. Thanks to a grant from the BNY Mellon Foundation we will be launching a tech lending library this fall! Students in need of technology will receive a Chromebook on loan, so they can successfully learn remotely. Some underwriting of broadband access will also be available. We have developed policies and procedures built on similar programs successfully implemented by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and adult education organizations in Texas where virtual instruction is commonly used during natural disasters.

We are excited to break down a significant barrier for our students. With this support, students can develop the skills needed to be ready and relevant for available jobs as our economy recovers.

Literacy Pittsburgh (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council) helps create better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped some 5,000 individuals acquire the skills needed to reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities. Literacy Pittsburgh provides free, personalized instruction in workforce readiness, high school diploma test preparation, digital literacy, English language learning, math, reading, and family literacy through one-to-one and small class instruction. Founded in 1982, it serves local adults through numerous neighborhood locations and its Downtown Pittsburgh Learning Center.