Monday, February 27, 2006

Rebuilding Technology in Gulf Coast Schools

Here's an article that appeared last week from eSchool News about the effort of high-profile computer companies, led by Intel, to rebuild technology for Gulf Coast schools: LINK.

I recognize the importance of the help from Intel and others to provide the latest and greatest technology over the long haul as schools rebuild, but I can't help but think that:

1. There will be a small limit to the number of schools who will actually receive "networked laptops for every classroom, at a student-to-computer ratio of 5 to 1, web-based educational programs, an auto-attendance system, an integrated telephone system, remote response pads, global positioning system (GPS) devices, digital and video cameras for classroom use, a video studio with cameras and editing devices, and interactive whiteboards..."

2. That the ability to IMMEDIATELY deploy used computer equipment in functioning ways to schools is being missed because it is not glamorous or exciting--and not in the promotional interests of the large technology companies.

We have in this country, each day, some 100,000 computers that become obsolete, a tiny portion of which are reused in any form. This is a tragic waste. By utilizing the Microsoft Authorized Refurbishers program (MAR), or Linux thin-client technology (K12LTSP), or our own program, a concerted effort could easily produce tens of thousands of lab or Internet-ready computers in a very short period of time for these schools.

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