PVF’s Voice-Based Education Initiative
By James Higa, Executive Director
We know that extraordinary times calls for re-thinking the ‘way it’s always been done’. PVF is known for our willingness to push creative and new ideas to tackle grassroots needs in our communities. Whether it’s supporting Eat.Learn.Play to re-open Oakland restaurants to create a decentralized food delivery system for essential workers, families in need, and elderly people, or helping Growing The Table bring Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to bear to more efficiently distribute food from farm-to-food banks, or backing The 15% Pledge to grow the pie for the products and talent of black owned businesses to be a bigger part of the mainstream economy, PVF is always there at the forefront of innovation.
One of the needs that COVID has exposed is the severity of the digital divide. Our classrooms have moved to remote online education and parents are struggling with something they had not signed up for; home schooling. We’ve heard from so many families who feel like they are being left behind. Bringing all the devices, networking, video software, and curriculum together is a huge, complex burden.
We believe an overlooked but effective technology for quality remote learning is voice. Smart speakers and voice-based learning are a lower cost and lower bandwidth alternative to desktop computers, notebooks, Zoom calls, and heavier duty online tools. We believe we can more easily and quickly get this more lightweight remote learning solution into the hands of many more families in need with children who crave to learn. An Amazon Echo or Google Assistant smart speaker combined with accessible and comprehensive K-5 curriculum from Bamboo Learning can provide a low cost, easy to deploy, and engaging remote learning experience. This is why PVF has created our ‘Voice-Based Education Initiative’ to create a new path forward for the children of our communities.