The Beginning – Part II

The success of Ghana days had us planning to make it an annual event.  It didn’t happen.  I was also a little disappointed with the fact that the kids raised a bunch of money, presented Atta with a check and then had nothing else to do with the project.  The students had participated in the fundraising, but did not build a real connection with the project itself. We had done some good, the money raised was used to refurbish computers, but I felt like we could do better. We needed a way to better connect our students with Community Eleven School Complex.

I had a student teacher and therefore a little time on my hands so I started looking into grants for technology to use in my classroom.  I wanted iPads for my students to use and I was searching for ways to make it happen.  I found two grants that I thought might fit my needs and came up with the idea to include a connection with Community Eleven.  I presented the idea to Mr. Atta and he said sure.  I\’m not sure that what I was proposing was really clear, or I explained it all that well, but it was all still hypothetical.

I wrote the grants pitching the idea that we would purchase 6 iPads and 6 FlipVideo cameras to be split between our two schools.  Students would use the technology to create videos about their daily lives, school and communities that we would then share via the internet.  It worked.  My idea was funded by both the NEA Foundation and the Lego Children\’s Fund.  With both of the grants I recieved almost $10,000 for the project.  Game on!

Once we had the funding, Mr. Atta and I started talking seriously about how to implement the project.  We ran into a roadblock right away. CESC didn\’t have internet access much less wireless.  I hadn\’t even considered this as a possible problem as I was developing my initial plan.  I figured we would order the iPads and have them shipped to CESC and we\’d be exchanging videos in a few weeks.  I was quickly introduced to reality.

Obviously our plans changed.  We began to focus on providing CESC with enough desktop computers to develop a computer lab.  Mr. Atta began purchasing used computers at UNCG\’s surplus sales and we asked our students and staff to donate their old computers as well.  We found a local computer repair service that offered to refurbish the computers at a discounted price and we managed to buy 3 new desktops along the way.  In the end we added 2 laptops and 2 printers as well.
It took us an entire year to collect the computers, monitors, keyboards, and other accessories and be certain that everything was in working order.  At times it seemed like we would never get everything organized and ready to go.  Thanks to Alliance Computers and the UNCG Computer Science department we finally had enough refurbished computers that were ready to ship.  Enter the next roadblock…
To be continued…

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