Tag Archives: donations

Computer Donation Checklist

Computer

Computer donations are a way to extend the IT budget. Be careful! Not everything is FREE. You don't want to accept a donation that will COST you money.

Computer donations are a great way to extend the IT budget at our school. However, there are hidden costs to the free equipment. For example, the time it takes to get them classroom ready and the agony of trying to dispose of old equipment. To make sure that a donation is useable I have a mental checklist to determine if the hardware is valuable to the school. You might think once you read this blog that I am too picky or ungrateful. I am not. I appreciate people thinking of the school community and our student needs. However, I feel responsible for the IT budget and I cannot accept a donation that will cost the school money.

Towers

Yes! We would love your old computer tower. We don’t need high-end equipment. Your old technology will do as long as it runs. I have basic criteria. The computer has to be at least a Pentium 3, have a 2.8 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 40 GB hard drive. If it has a DVD reader or CD burner than that is a bonus. I tend to keep extra RAM sticks and 1 GB network cards on hand, so I can easily upgrade your computer to make it work well for our students and teachers.

Monitors

Sorry, but I cannot take your CRT monitors. The technology is too old and bulky. In addition, they are difficult to dispose of once they break. Instead, we only accept 15″ LCD flat panel monitors in working order. Your monitor does not have to have a power supply or cables. I have lots of extras.

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The Hidden Cost of Computer Donations

Computer Donations

The hidden cost of donated computer equipment is TIME.

Another Donation!

We are very fortunate to have a community that thinks about us when their offices are getting new equipment. Often parents of students at the school will convince their workplace to donate unwanted computer hardware to the school. This is how we acquired the recent donation of monitors. Today, I am looking at a group of computer towers.

As much as we appreciate the free equipment,
there is a hidden cost to computer donations.

I thank the parent for their generosity. It is very kind of them to think of the school. I smile on the outside, but inside I sigh. WOW! This is going to be so much work!

I wheel the donations down the hallway. Once in the office I assess the situation. The towers are all different models. It appears that a few of them have had parts replaced (video cards, network cards and sound cards). Oh and did I mention, the hard drives have all been wiped clean?

The hidden cost to computer donations is the time it takes to get them ready for use. This job is literally going to take me HOURS. Not only do I have to format the hard drive but I also have to search for drivers after finding out the type of cards that are installed. This is LOTS of work!

In the end, it took me at least 8 hours solid to bring one machine back to life. I had to first install the operating system with all its service packs and updates. Then I needed to install all the software, get all the updates, add printers, customize the registry, and join the domain.

Let’s hope the school gets at least 3 years of use out of this equipment. It was lots of work to get these machines up and running. But they are much better than the old machines. Speaking of which, I need to recycle them.

What are Other Hidden Costs to Computer Donations?

Are computer donations really free? What are the hidden costs? Do the benefits of the donation outweigh the hidden costs?

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Other Articles about Computer Donations

Computer Donation Checklist
The Hidden Cost of Computer Donations
The Latest Computer Equipment is Not Required
Old Technology is Good Technology
Computer Donations and Recycling Old Computer Equipment

The Latest Computer Equipment is Not Required

You don’t need to have the latest equipment to have the greatest technology program. It is how you integrate technology into curriculum that enhances learning and improves teaching practice. Not the size of the hard drive.

Our school does not have high-end, brand new equipment. Instead, most of the computers in the lab are older. Yet they are perfect for our purpose. Our students and teachers can offer a high-quality program without having the latest hardware.

You DON’T need the latest equipment to have the greatest technology program.

A high end machine is best suited to a person that is using multiple programs at one time, working with large video or picture files, or is a heavy gamer. The average student or teacher does not need a super computer. Instead, it is the innovative ideas you have for how to use technology in the classroom that matters! If you don’t know how to integrate the use of technology into curriculum it won’t matter that the hard drive is 1 TB, that you have 3 GB of RAM, or that the processor is 3 GHz.

The students at our school use TechnoKids Computer Curriculum for their technology program. They complete meaningful projects that integrate technology into curriculum using Microsoft Office 2007. On any given day, the K-8 students are working on a range of technology-based activities. For example, today in the lab the Grade 2 class is creating an animal report using Microsoft PowerPoint, the Grade 5 class is completing their news article about a famous landmark using Microsoft Word, and the Grade 3/4 class is learning about digital citizenship and Internet skills. All this is taking place on computers that are about five years old.

The students do not just use technology to complete TechnoKids projects. The equipment is used to promote learning in other areas. For example, part of school’s reading program includes the web-based Accelerated Reader Program. As well, the computers are used to research information, complete class assignments, and use drill and practice software.

In addition, the teachers don’t just limit the use of the computers to teaching TechnoKids projects. Instead, they use them to gather information, prepare lessons, create handouts, write report cards, and communicate with parents and colleagues. All of this is being done with older equipment!

Old Technology is Good Technology

Don’t wait until you have the latest super computer, gadget, or software. Start integrating technology into curriculum now! Today, the good news is that old technology is good technology.

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Other Articles about Computer Donations

Computer Donation Checklist
The Hidden Cost of Computer Donations
The Latest Computer Equipment is Not Required
Old Technology is Good Technology
Computer Donations and Recycling Old Computer Equipment

Old Technology is Good Technology

Donations Welcome!

Are you looking to get rid of your old computer, laptop, or monitor? Before you dump it in the trash, consider a local school in your neighborhood. Many private schools are happy to accept your donations. I know we are!

Today, old technology is good technology. Your computer that is three years old and only has 512 MB of ram is perfect! Your laptop that only has an 80 GB hard drive is excellent! Your old digital camera is wonderful! Your small 17″ flat panel monitor is fantastic! Yes, we will take it!

Budgets are tight! Donated computer equipment allows the school to upgrade its equipment without having to spend a lot of money. We appreciate all hardware donations because they allow us to allocate our funds elsewhere. Typically, the money goes to areas where donations are not available, such as software licensing.

Two Inexpensive Ways to Improve Computer Performance

There are two changes I will often make to the donation of a computer to improve its performance. No, I do not change the hard drive (unless it is smaller than 40 GB). The amount of space typically does not matter because the files are stored on the server.

Where I make enhancements are the RAM and network card. I like to purchase inexpensive RAM sticks to bump up the memory of the computer. I also will invest in a gigabit network card to increase the rate of data transfer through the network. These upgrades typically cost $100. This investment is worthwhile because now the school has a machine that it can typically use for about three years.

Companies typically turn over their equipment every three to five years. Back in the day, these older machines were junk. Today, there is a strong possibility this hardware is what your school needs!

What Do you Think?

Does your school accept computer donations? What hardware will you accept? What hardware is not worth the headache?

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Other Articles about Computer Donations

Computer Donation Checklist
The Hidden Cost of Computer Donations
The Latest Computer Equipment is Not Required
Old Technology is Good Technology
Computer Donations and Recycling Old Computer Equipment