Children in the upper Worth Valley were able to express their frustrations relating to poor broadband and patchy mobile signals at a meeting organised by FibreValley, the group set up to campaign for better digital connectivity in the area.
Milly, 9, from Stanbury Village School explained that the ‘Learn Anywhere’ platform on her school’s network wasn’t very useful from home because her Internet was too slow and kept cutting off. She would often have to plan to do her homework at school or at a friends house.
Donna Craven and son Dale from Oakbank School explained how they have to go to Dale’s auntie’s house to get online, “It is just not reliable at home. I would love to be able to shop online or book a holiday from our home computer but it is not possible,” explained Donna.
When asked what he wanted to do if he was able to get online, Dale answered, “I’d like to go on YouTube or contact my friends on Skype. There are games and things too, but there is no chance of doing any of that at my house.”
Amber, age 10 from Oxenhope Primary School told of how her year 4 project was undermined when she was not able to access online research facilities at home to complete her report on the Tudors.
“I had to get all of the information for the report from the few books available in the school library. Some of the other kids were able to get online and find out more information. When it came to the prizes for the best reports, I was really annoyed that I missed out. The kids who won the prizes had internet access at home.”
There reveals a very important point about schools often not having quite so many books. It seems that in our new ‘digital environment for learning’ it is assumed that children will have access to the Internet outside the classroom… and that learning will be extended to a digital home environment.
Less budget is being allocated to physical books or paper based products for learning. The disadvantage is then double edged as those unable to access the internet are also underserved in the traditional learning environment.
Social inclusion is every bit as vital for the development of healthy & happy children. Amber told of her frustration, “ I can’t play Movie Star Planet with my best friend, Saskia. We like to chat online too but I can’t do that very often either.”
On December 10th Stanbury Village School will lead a delegation of school children from the Worth valley to visit City Hall in Bradford to question the full council about Internet access in the rural Worth Valley. Ward Councillor Russell Brown has offered his support and arranged for the children to meet the Lord Mayor.
FibreValley Kids are on the move and joining the campaign for digital inclusion!
Article kindly reproduced from the Worth Valley Magazine. Original here (pdf).