Bozzlife: Computers for Learning

in busy •  8 months ago  (edited)


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.


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Seriously???!? You guys still run Core2Duo chips? Wow, that is pretty appalling that funding isn't there to keep kids up to date.... and they wonder why STEM is suffering. Anyway, great that you were able to "update" your gear with this haul...

Those C2D run pretty decent if you throw enough RAM and a SSD in them. For most of what they do (surf the Internet) it works fine, but it is always nice to give them an upgrade!

I'm sure they run alright... I didn't realise that the motherboards would support a SSD... did you have to flash them?

No, original BIOS worked just fine.

Posted using Partiko Android

Ah lucky for you... I have an old netbook that craps out at the sight of a SSD... it runs mostly okay, but then hangs for a bit.

Anything you can do on the latest i9/Ryzen/whatever I can do on a core2duo...just slower :)

Haha... that's true enough!

Thats a good haul you got on that visit and you will have many happy teachers when you do the upgrades, I believe when our equipment is refreshed here the recovered computer equipment is donated in many cases, but i dont work in that part of the Supply chain so I am not sure if thats still the case or where it goes, but its always good t hear about refreshed/replaced equipment being out to good use

For sure, they have been asking for something like this for a while now.

And that great hat you are able to put this together for them

Cracking stuff @bozz!

Thanks! I appreciate it!

Have you talked to any of your local industry?

I think we get rid of any equipment that's 3+ years old where I work as far as laptops and computers go.

I can't imagine they wouldn't be happy to donate it as I think it's a pretty big pain for them to throw away / recycle anyways.

We are kind of out in the country, so there isn't a ton of industry right around here, not yet anyway... We have a pretty big cannabis grow operation being built down the road that might be a source in the future. We do have some large corporations in neighboring cities, but I think they usually try to keep their stuff within that cities school districts. Great advice though!

The good news is that a 3 year refresh cycle is really unnecessary these days (other than replacing/repairing broken machines anyway). Having said that, Core 2 Duo machines are probably still a bit older than you would really want. But like you said, even those are decent enough and can do most things a newer machine can do provided you have enough RAM and a fast enough hard drive (or SSD) so that they are not unbearably slow...

This donation will put us in a really good place. I am pretty excited about it. My worker might not be as excited when he sees the stacks of machines!

If computer is hood for earning.

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