Posted at 00:11h
Every district I have gone in to, the children do not have computers, or I had a couple students who had computers but no idea how to use them.
My first quest is to get computers to every child and into every child's home: Nothing fancy, the basic machine will do. I start with the quest for desktop computers because they are the most prevalent. I want children to go from starting work at school, saving it to a memory card, taking it home and finishing the work.
I also know that these children will test the stamina of this machine, so, in general, I never seek out new machines. I don't want anyone to feel badly when it goes down and it will for any number of reasons.
I place an ad in the local newspaper or send out requests in my email looking for machines. I will take any type of PC. If I take in many machines, then I can take from one machine and add to another where something is broken. Then I end up with one good machine. The communities have always been very generous and most had this machine sitting in a corner and they had replaced it with a new one so they were grateful to get rid of it. I always tell them that I wipe the machines clean and I do for everyone's safety. As much as I would like to say all my students are angels…they are not, or they have a sibling that is not. This is usually the case. It is the sibling that ruins the computer…so just a head's up on that one.
Give your youngest to oldest student one of these coputers to practice those touch-typing skills. Once the student has gone through a couple years with this machine and they have proven they are responsible with it, and have successfully kept their siblings away from it, we head to groups that can help them purchase their own tools, especially if they are ready to graduate. Lions Clubs have always been a great resource; where the parents work, their companies have yearly budgets of giving, Microsoft donates thousands of machines all over and so many other avenues, but also people in the community who want to help in some way. They are retired and looking for worthy people who could use their financial support.
I want the student to be working for this equipment somehow also. It is hard to perfect this because you are depending on others to get the child where they need to be in order to help around the company who gave the money or help the couple who bought the equipment. More than anything so many of our students have not gained even the most basic skills of how to sweep a floor or do basic cleaning…..this issue is for another time—parents doing too much for their child
The child acquires the new technology, which is now something portable like a laptop, braille note, etc. that they can take anywhere. The school districts see this is the equipment they need and provide it at school for them. I can tell you that administrators are concerned about buying expensive equipment because so often something is bought then not used because no one knows how to use it. If you can show the school district you have the knowledge to teach it and know where to get it fixed, you will have a lot of support behind you.
So go put an ad in a paper, send an email, bring some basic computers in and start teaching those touch-typing skills with a free download of JAWS talking software to get them going. Alternatively, if you are blessed with a rich relative, tools make a great Christmas, Hanukkah or birthday gift.