Amazon is donating 10,000 Fire tablets to help struggling children learn from home
AMAZON is donating 10,000 Fire tablets to schools across the UK so disadvantaged children can learn from home.
The majority of kids across the UK are being taught remotely due to schools being shut until at least March 8.
Schools only remain open for vulnerable kids and the children of key workers, with all other lessons switching online.
But for some families, learning from home has proved a struggle if they don't have internet or laptops.
To help those without technology, Amazon today confirmed it has set aside 10,000 Fire Tablets for schools that are most in need.
The tech giant is working with education charity Teach First to hand out the devices.
Top tips on how to stay connected
BELOW are some tips from Ofcom on how to stay connected during the coronavirus crisis.
- Use your landline or wifi calls:More people are making calls on their mobile network during the day, so you may find you get a more reliable connection using your landline or by turning on "wifi calling" in your settings.
- Move your router clear of other devices: Keep your router as far away as possible from other devices, such as cordless phones, baby monitors, TVs and monitors, as they can all affect your wifi if they’re too close to your router. Also, place your router on a table or shelf rather than on the floor, and keep it switched on.
- Lower the demands on your connection: The more devices attached to your wifi, the lower the speed you get. Devices like tablets and smartphones often work in the background, so try switching wifi reception off on these when you’re not using them.
- Try wired rather than wireless:For the best broadband speeds, use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router rather than using wifi.
- Plug your router directly into your main phone socket:Where possible, try not to use a telephone extension lead, as these can cause interference which could lower your speed.
- Test the speed on your broadband line: You can run a speed test using Ofcom’s official mobile and broadband checker. If possible, carry out tests over a few days and at different times of day.
- Get advice from your broadband provider: If your connection isn’t working as well as it should, you can find advice on your broadband provider’s website. If you need to contact them for help, keep in mind that because of coronavirus some companies have fewer people to help with your queries.
It comes as Teach First found that more than one third of parents in England have at least one child who doesn’t have exclusive use of a computer.
Depending on the type of device, prices start from £34.99 for the Fire 7 model, going up to £109.99 for the Fire 10 HD tablet.
Who is eligible for a free Amazon Fire Tablet?
Amazon says the free Fire Tablets will be donated to schools, rather than directly to families.
It is then down to the schools to decide which pupils to give the devices to.
The tech giant hasn't provided a full list of school locations, but it told The Sun that dozens of places will be eligible.
All the schools who will receive the tablets are partnered with Teach First.
The schools are currently being contacted by Teach First so they can start ordering the devices.
If your child doesn't have a device to work on, it might be worth speaking to their school to see if they are partnered with Teach First.
You could also be eligible for a free laptop through the separate Department for Education Get Help with Tech scheme. We explain how it works below.
John Boumphrey, UK country manager for Amazon, said: “It is critical children across the UK have access to devices so they can continue to learn remotely, but also to support STEM skills and education for the future.
“We’re proud to work with Teach First in supporting the immediate needs of children in underserved communities while also helping to inspire and unlock the potential of the next generation of builders, inventors and innovators.”
Kathryn Hobbs, headteacher of David Nieper Academy, a Teach First partner school in Derbyshire, said: “When it comes to schoolwork, a smartphone just isn’t sufficient – but the hard truth is that some families simply can’t afford IT equipment.
“To support our pupils through this pandemic, we need more access to devices… so that nothing holds our pupils back from their fundamental right to learn.”
What other help is available?
We've got a full guide on all the support that's available for families that are struggling with home schooling.
Some of the tips include:
Free laptops and tablets: You might be able to claim one of 1.3million free laptops and tablets being given out by the government for home schooling.
The Department for Education initially said it would hand out 200,000 free devices through its Get Help with Tech scheme.
But this number has gradually increased due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic.
Latest figures, published on January 26, 2021, show the government has delivered 876,013 devices to struggling families.
You can't apply for one yourself, instead you'll need to contact your child's school and they'll put in the request for you via the Gov.uk website.
Free mobile data: The majority of well-know mobile providers are offering free 4G data.
For example, EE, Three and Vodafone are giving out unlimited extra data – this is applied on top of your usual monthly plan.
O2 will boost your data package by 40GB per month, while Virgin Mobile is offering an extra 20GB per month.
Again, this support is being offered through the Get Help with Tech programme.
Speak to your child's school to see if you're eligible.
What mobile providers are offering extra data for struggling families?
MANY well-known mobile network providers are offering free data for families who are struggling with home schooling.
Here's what help is available:
- EE: Free unlimited data (pay monthly and pay-as-you go customers)
- O2: Free 40GB data boost per month (pay monthly and pay-as-you go customers)
- Sky Mobile: One-off 100GB data boost (pay monthly customers only)
- SMARTY: Free unlimited data (pay monthly and pay-as-you go customers)
- Tesco Mobile: Free 20GB data boost per month (pay monthly and pay-as-you-go customers)
- Three: Free unlimited data (pay monthly and pay-as-you go customers)
- Virgin Mobile: Free 20GB data boost per month (pay monthly customers only)
- Vodafone: Free unlimited data (pay monthly and pay-as-you go customers on a "Big Value" bundle worth £10 or more)
Free WiFi: BT is handing out free WiFi vouchers to vulnerable households, even if you're not a customer already.
The free vouchers give access to five million BT WiFi hotspots across the UK until the end of the academic year in July 2021.
Schools must put in a request through the BT website for families to gain access to the vouchers.
Free 4G routers:
Pupils and students who don't have fixed broadband or access to the internet at home may also be able to claim a free 4G router.
You can ask for one even if you're not eligible for free mobile data.
Again, you'll need to speak to your child's school first as they'll need to put in the request on your behalf.
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