Thursday, December 01, 2005

Reasons to Consider Computer Reuse in Schools

There appear to be three main reasons that schools can and do consider the use of used computer equipment.
  1. Cost Savings. While computer prices have fallen dramatically in the past few years, there are still many schools (public and private) which find that they have difficulty funding their computer technology programs. There is a cost to the purchase of computers, there are software purchase and licensing fees, and their is the overhead of maintenance (both paid and unpaid) on the computers. While Total Cost of Ownership Studies (TCO) have produced varied results and are quickly outdated, most schools have had the experience of finding that substantial moneys have been invested in technology, often when other programs are at risk. Within three or four years of intial purchases, most schools find that they are actively looking at having to purchase new computers. As well, there are some schools that just don't have the funding for computers at all, and therefore receiving donated or subsidized computers are their only options.
  2. A Commitment to Reuse. While not nearly as compelling as the cost concerns to most schools, the re-use of computers in a school can be motivated by a desire to model the responsible use of resources. It is my hope that this aspect of computer reuse, while not considered practical by many, will be given more of an opportunity to succeed through the ideas below.
  3. Technical Education. Just as the automobiles worked on in a shop class don't need to be (and shouldn't be) only the latest models, technical classes on computer repair and upgrading, as well as some programming and network studies, provide a good environment for used computers.
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