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Ariz. College Not Letting Old Computers Go to Waste

By CECILE LeBLANC, Arizona Daily Sun
Second-graders Christopher Martinez and Rawdy Wiltbank are taking their turn at their classroom’s new computers. Both are working on sentence construction.

AP Photo/Arizona Daily Sun, Jake Bacon
Christopher Martinez, 8, works on a computer in his second grade classroom at DeMiguel Elementary School in Flagstaff, Ariz. The computer is one of 22 computers donated to the school by Coconino Community College. The college has donated a total of 100 computers to city schools.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Second-graders Christopher Martinez and Rawdy Wiltbank are taking their turn at their classroom’s new computers. Both are working on sentence construction.

As they move words into proper order, a monkey jumps around on the screen. Rawdy demonstrates how an eel zaps electricity if words are placed in the wrong order.

These are two of the seven computers DeMiguel Elementary School has received from Coconino Community College. According to Principal Ninon Wilson, DeMiguel will receive 15 more for a total of 22.

Since 2010, Coconino Community College has been donating used computers to local schools rather than sending the computers to be recycled or to the landfill. The computers to DeMiguel bring the total of repurposed computers to 100.

Jared Logan, CCC director of user services, first had the idea to repurpose CCC’s computers when he visited schools and saw classrooms without computers or with old computers.

“A core value at the college is sustainability and it struck a sour note with me to see these computers going to the landfill,” said Logan. “I saw a lot of need. It’s a little more work but worth it.”’

Logan explains college computers must be fairly new to accommodate some of the newer applications and must be under warranty.

“We run high-intensive databases,’’ Logan said. “Local schools are grateful. Many of their computers are more than 10 years old.”

Previous to this program, computers would be sent to the landfill, sold at Northern Arizona University or sent to be recycled in Phoenix.

“It makes a lot of sense,” Logan said. “The recycling plant wouldn’t take all parts. Since implementing this program, all computers have found homes and we have dramatically cut waste.”

In 2010 Northland Preparatory Academy was the first school to receive computers — 20 for their student lab. Since then, schools in Grand Canyon School District and the Flagstaff Community Christian School have received computers.

“We are still in the infancy of the program,” Logan said. “We are hoping to get more interest in the program.”

Logan listed a few stipulations: the school needs to
be within Coconino County,
the school has to identify the need and computers need to be used for academic purposes by students.

Logan explained that Doug King, CCC user services specialist, destroys all data on the drive using a Department of Defense procedure. Then, before the computers are donated, they are checked to make sure they
are operational and in good condition.

After the computers were donated to Flagstaff Unified School District, Ted Grudniewski, assistant director of technology, and other staff members ensured the computers were up-to-date and loaded with the appropriate educational software.

“Getting donated computers allows us to maximize the
use of available funding for technology,” Grudniewski said.

Wilson said these computers came at a perfect time.

“We can’t update the old ones, these are updated,” she said. “They are very nice.”’ The computers went to the second, third and fifth grades.

“Our teachers are evaluated on integrating technology into lessons, and this offers them the opportunity,” Wilson said.

Students, he added, can directly apply on the computer what they have learned in class.

Christopher and Rawdy are in Stacy Wheeler’s second-grade class. Students take turns at the computers. Christopher and Rawdy had been playing “Monkey Business” and learning sentence structure, but both were ready for a new game.

“I think they’re pretty awesome,” Christopher said of the computers.

He likes how he can take reading tests and see how he has done right away. 

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