I teach at a wonderful Title I high school with an extraordinary diversity of students. Our students are creative and interested.
Even though many of them have had little exposure to technology, they are eager to spend time after school exploring and learning.
Last year, I was offered the chance to build a proof-of-concept pilot for an integrated Arduino sensor that detected changing light levels (the ultimate goal was testing creek water). The project began in the last six weeks of the year, when all our minds are on summer vacation, but I routinely had 12 students after school for two hours, figuring out the technology, and many more students in the status meetings, learning about our progress.
These are great kids. They will create their opportunities. They need tools.
I'm starting a maker club at my school, which currently has no technology or equipment. We meet after school two days a week, and I'm slowly building capacity to support students in learning about new technology.
Building computers will give students a better understanding of the underlying technology, but also create tools they can use as a springboard to more learning.
Building the laptops will not only give them exposure to the electronics behind computing, but also give us more laptops for our club, and more opportunities for other students to learn. We will be able to use these and other computers we build ourselves as technology platforms for more projects.
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