RouteSmart Technologies, a global leader in routing optimization solutions, is doing its part to help close the digital divide by donating surplus laptops to help families meet the demands of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Maryland-based tech company recently distributed the laptops to children of its employees in need of updated equipment and, as part of an ongoing initiative, are currently soliciting donations from its staff for students involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs in the greater Baltimore.
“We want young people to continue their interest in STEM education and we don’t want them to fall behind by not having the necessary tools,” RouteSmart IT Manager Christopher Gibson said. “It’s hard enough for children to focus on schoolwork from home, but when they don’t have what they need to excel, it becomes even more of a challenge.”
Gibson, a member of the fraternal organization Phi Beta Sigma, became aware there was a program to provide laptops, tablets, and high-speed internet access to local students affected by the pandemic.
Approximately 15 to 16 million K-12 public school students in the US live in homes with inadequate internet connection, or have devices that aren’t equipped for distance learning, according to study from Common Sense Media and the Boston Consulting Group published in June 2020.
Baltimore city schools are currently in need of roughly 6,000 laptops for students who do not have adequate equipment, according to Eric Davis, Executive Director at the STEM Center for Excellence in Baltimore. The Digital Harbor Foundation, Baltimore Robotics Center, Rowdy Orbit, and the STEM Center for Excellence are among the nonprofits currently working together to solicit donations for laptops, tablets and Wi-Fi hotspots to help close this vital technology gap, Davis said.
“We appreciate RouteSmart Technologies initiative in working to overcome digital inequalities in the Greater Baltimore region,” Davis said. “Thanks to companies such as RouteSmart, we will conquer the digital divide.”
Those interested in donating laptops or tablets can fill out this form drop the equipment off at the Baltimore Robotics Center, 1001 W. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21223. People wishing to make a tax-deductible monetary donation, can do so here.