Working in a public school district, it can often be hard to find the funds for things that would be routine maintenance in the private sector. Things like three year refresh cycles on hardware are basically a pipe dream unless you are in a big district that has a tax base to support that sort of thing.
This fact requires that people in positions similar to mine find creative ways to keep their equipment "up to date". I put up to date in quotes because what might be a three year old machine to someone else is considered cutting edge to many of my teachers that are still running Core 2 Duo's in their classrooms.
Federal agencies get a little more funding that we do, so they are able to maintain a pretty regular refresh cycle. Hence the Computers for Learning (CFL) initiative was created to give those agencies an avenue to donate their equipment that is being refreshed to other entities.
My participation in this program dates back several years to an occasion where I obtained some machines from the Social Security Administration. They were several states away and I had to hire a semi truck and driver to deliver them to us. The semi was so weighted down with equipment that he got ticketed and had to go back and give some of it back before he could make his way to our location.
That was probably close to five or six years ago, so I was really excited when one of the local Veterans Affairs Hospitals contacted me out of the blue to see if I wanted some more equipment. After getting the specifications from them, I was definitely interested and I took a truck over to their warehouse to see what I could bring back.
It started off as the opening picture and the pallet of monitors you see above. As I walked around the warehouse with the 82 (she brought it up, we didn't ask) year old lady that was in charge we just kept adding more and more stuff to the pallet.
By the time we left the warehouse, my school district was the proud owner of 78 relatively new computers with i5 processor and 4 to 8 GB of RAM. Due to privacy reasons, they pulled the hard drives out of all the machines but I just ordered a bunch of SSD's that I can install in some of them.
We are also the proud owner of a Lexmark laser printer and a couple of rack mount surge protectors.
I am really excited to let my intern start digging into these machines and seeing how they are going to work out for us. Like I said, many of them will be replacing old Core 2 Duo machines in the classroom so the difference for the teachers should be like going from a moped to a Ducati.