Archive for free

Driving to Sweet Grass/Gettin some puters

Posted in Educational, Personal with tags , on October 1, 2008 by Mister A

I was able to finagle 25 dell computers from the United States Border Patrol over the past month or so and last Friday, I drove up to Sweet Grass, about a two hour drive, to pick up the computers. My journey began with the pick up of a Uhaul van to go and pick the computers up with. When I told the man at the counter, Goody, what I was using the uhaul for and that I was a teacher, he gruffly shared with me his opinion of computers and said that kids should just be given a paper and pencil with the instructions to “Git ‘er done”, after all, it was good enough for him. Computers cause way more problems than they are worth he went on to explain. It is amazing to me how similar his response was to certain people who I work with. The first responses I received when I shared with people that I was able to get some computers donated was “there is no place to put them”. I was hoping the response would be more positive, like maybe, Wow! think of all the things we could do with them. The computers I picked up are at least as good and in many cases better than the computers I currently have in my classroom, however, I will not be allowed to swap out windows licenses on to “Donated Machines”. The term “Donated Machines” seems a dirty word to the people involved with the implementation of technology at our school. One person in particular almost seems angry with me that I was able to get some computers donated to our school. Could someone in my PLN explain to me why that might be the case? Also, the only operating system that will be allowed on our district’s network is Microsoft Windows. The learning curve will be steep on this one, I think, as I begin to learn about Linux and open source operating systems. However, with my PLN, steep learning curves are much easier to ride up (bicycle racing metaphor). I imagine it is difficult to configure a network to take more than one different kind of operating system, but I don’t really know, because networking is not something I have a great deal of experience with. But it would seem to me that it must be possible, because I know other teachers are doing it in other places with poorer technological resources.

So, I will focus not on why I can’t use these computers in my school or how there will be obstacles in the way as I attempt to find a use for them, but on how much learning will occur for me and hopefully some of the students I see as I attempt finding a place in my school for these computers. Actually getting them on our school grounds should have been the biggest challenge I faced with regards to finding a purpose for the computers, but I have a feeling there may be bigger ones. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if it were the employees from the U. S. Border Patrol who had to drive to Great Falls to pick up our school district’s old computers, not the other way around.

On a personal note, I took our dog, Buster with me on the trip to Sweet Grass. He is a great dog, just growing out of puppihood. He was great company along the way, and he really made me laugh when I looked down at him after paying too much attention to the road to see that he had chewed his old leash to shreds…See Picture…