When a large company or famous
philanthropist donates computers to children to advance their
learning and give them online access to the world, it makes an
impact. But when the donors are young teenagers who revamped and
renovated the computers themselves, it makes an even bigger impact.
Students and teachers at Forest Park
High School, a public magnet school in Woodbridge, Va., say their
school’s computer donation program has become an essential part of
the learning experience. It has also become an essential asset for
The program combines academic learning
and hands-on lab work with community service. First students learn
about computer systems and networks. Then they rebuild used computers
and give them away to children and other schools needing computers.
It is the act of
giving that solidifies the learning experience, says Brian Hackett,
an instructional technologist at the school and co-coordinator for
the program. “It becomes personal. You don’t get personal in
learning until the kids see results of what they have learned”.
Hackett thinks education in general
should head in the direction of combining schooling with community
service. Applying academic material gives it relevance.
The students seemed
to agree. “When we go to events to give the computers away, the
parents and students are overwhelmed with joy. The smiles on their
faces are amazing”, said Karl Stallknecht, a student at Forest
Park. “You can see the big picture”.
As the students worked on restoring
computers to mint condition during class, they spoke about their
coursework with enthusiasm. They seemed to grasp the complexities of
information technology as they discussed network systems, web
hosting, cloud-based solutions, Linux operating systems, and various
software programs. Listening to their high level of discourse, it was
clear they understood as least as much about technology as the
average adult working in the field.
(Source: eschool News)