By Meghana Patwardhan, Vice President, Dell Latitude and Mobility Products, Dell Technologies.As my kids kick off a new semester, I find myself reflecting on all they’ve been through as they switched between virtual school and “learn from anywhere” this past year. Students worldwide have had to change how they learn, how they interact with their teachers and how they communicate with friends. Their resilience and strength have been nothing short of amazing.
But we can’t pretend this is the case for every student. The pandemic has revealed the disparity in access to the basic requirements for remote learning. A recent New Common Sense and Boston Consulting Group analysis shows that up to 16 million kids and as many as 400,000 teachers in the U.S. alone lack adequate internet or computing devices at home. Most visible in rural, Black and Hispanic communities this lack of access to basic needs – devices, broadband, digital literacy and critical skills for the digital economy – mean these communities are at risk of falling further and further behind.
At Dell Technologies, we are committed to addressing this. Every student, regardless of socioeconomic status, should have equitable access to these basic needs and opportunities to pursue an education. To deliver on this we will be partnering with local government, non-profit organizations, and the public and private sectors to deliver the resources they need most. We’ll have more news to share on this initiative soon.
We are thinking about this significant societal challenge as we design products for students. There are two big issues we see when it comes to device connectivity: 1) lack of reliable internet access and 2) limited Wi-Fi bandwidth that rears its ugly head when kids are trying to do video conferencing and learning apps at the same time. We’ve addressed these with two additions to our education laptop line up.
It starts with adding an LTE-enabled option to our Chromebook 3100. The Chromebook 3100 with LTE is our first Chromebook for Education with LTE and is designed for those learning from areas that don’t have reliable, or any, internet access. The device offers built-in mobile support from major carriers in the U.S., and for other countries, the option to choose your mobile carrier.
For Windows, we’re also introducing the new Latitude 3120, which offers better performance and speed with Intel’s new Pentium® Silver and Celeron® processors. Available as a laptop or 2-in-1, students can collaborate with the best Wi-Fi technology for video conferencing, audio and learning apps, seamlessly at the same time. Parents and kids, working and learning from home, no longer need to worry about limited bandwidth as ultra-fast Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) provides more reliable and faster connections.
School yard (and back yard) tough
No matter the learning environment – we know kids are hard on their technology. All our education devices can survive 48-inch drops on plywood and have keyboards that withstand 12-ounce spills1 . The Latitude 3120 features a new, textured design to give students a better grip while on-the-go. And with the Dragontrail Pro glass screen option, the Latitude 3120 is more scratch resistant and can better withstand drops on its corner. Students can use the Dell Active Pen or a pencil to write, take notes or draw diagrams from any angle on the Latitude 3120 2-in-1.
School for the future
Learning from home takes flexibility and strength – for students, for teachers, for school staff and for parents. We expect our PCs and technology to be just as resilient too, so learning can happen no matter what your day looks like, at home or at school.