In a long-winded and jargon-filled announcement celebrating AT&T’s $2 billion effort to bridge the digital divide over the next three years, one minor announcement stood out. The company says it’s planning to launch a digital learning platform together with its subsidiary WarnerMedia. Again, more jargon, but what’s interesting is that AT&T says it’ll have “exclusive” content featuring WarnerMedia properties and talent, meaning it could potentially even include programming featuring Warner-owned DC comics characters. Who doesn’t want a math lesson from Batman (but hopefully not Aquaman).
While details are scarce at the moment, AT&T says the platform will include tools to help students and teachers deal with remote learning, as well as “resources to support socio-emotional learning and critical thinking skills.” The educational platform is a part of AT&T’s new Connected Learning initiative, which also includes launching 20 centers this year that’ll offer AT&T fiber internet, Wi-Fi, laptops and tablets. The company is also working together with the Public Library Association to offer digital literacy courses for parents and families.
Personally, I hope AT&T and other major corporations spend more time investing in libraries and other existing public services, rather than launching their own spaces that could easily shut down in a year or two. The COVID-19 pandemic has already made things difficult for libraries around the country, and they’ll be even more essential as public services start opening back up.