School initiates fundraising campaign for equipment
Scugog Christian School is planning to update its computer lab once necessary funds have been raised.
The new equipment could boost the quality and content of student work, as well as potentially increase the level of student engagement, according to principal Grace van Niejenhuis.
“Students could get a lot more ‘bling’ in their projects,” van Niejenhuis notes, as they could use the computers to do on-line research as well as create a polished finished product.
“I also think it would make (their class presentations) that much more exciting for them to do.”
Current programs completed on the computers, including some reading and math studies, as well as keyboarding course, would be much easier to carry out on updated equipment.
New machines would also make it more likely that the school could introduce other programs, such as more extensive computer studies, says van Niejenhuis.
Staff could also benefit from new machines for communication, lesson preparation, accessing online resources, information management, and updating the school’s website content.
Currently staff are expected to update pages on the website but find it difficult, says van Niejenhuis.
The majority of the school’s current computers have been donated through the program Computers for Schools, which refurbishes computers for educational use and places them in schools at a third of the cost of the new equipment.
Van Niejenhuis notes that many of these computers date back to 1997 and the board has agreed that they no longer adequately meet the needs of the students and staff.
As an example of the type of challenge the current equipment presents, the average time for the machines to boot up is six minutes, compared to less than a minute for newer equipment.
The plan is to purchase about 20 new computers, both for the school’s computer lab and the school office.
About $5,400 has been collected to date for the new equipment, with a goal of about $22,000, if the school is able to obtain some specific equipment which would allow for a significant saving.
The school board is evaluating a PC virtualization system by Ncomputing, a computer tech firm. This would allow multiple workstations to work off of a single PC. It might be possible to run the computer lab with 20 workstations with only four or five PC’s, according to Lyndon Hiebert, chair of the board.
“We are in the early stages of this evaluation but it looks very promising,” says Hiebert.
The school is also looking into software licenses from TeachSoup.org — The Technology Place for Non-Profits. This organization supplies software licenses to charitable organizations at a fraction of retail cost.
Scugog Christian School is asking individuals, families or businesses to sponsor components of the project. For instance, a family might donate to pay for a computer server or a business support the installation of the computers.
If anyone is interested in supporting this project, please contact the school at 905-985-3741 to find out more.