.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

'Community Computer Recycle' Scheme

Monday, June 13, 2005

Three given to COMREC

We have given away a further three computers last friday. Representatives (Ben, Simon and Graeme) of COMREC in Mount Gambier were here to take delivery. Grant High School students Ben and Angus provided the training and conducted the hand over.

Both Ben and Angus felt the hand over exercise was challenging and rewarding. Challenging because they had to do the talking and showing. Rewarding because it was good to help others.
Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Presentation to Rotary

Had a chat to the 'Rotary Club of Mount Gambier Inc' recently about this scheme. They made me feel special and were interested in the recycle scheme. The presentation took the following course

Community Computer Recycling
Grant High School

Community benefits

  • Reducing landfill
  • Slowing down the impact of the digital divide
  • Increased awareness of Open Source software

Student benefits

  • Practical computer technician training
  • Learn to do things for others
  • Learn that they have skills that others need

Assess donated computers

  • Do they work?
  • Do they meet our minimum specifications?
  • Are there usable parts that can be salvaged?
  • Other parts are recycled via KD's group to a scrap metal re cycler.

This is an already established system within the school

  • Buildfest - Students build computers
  • Donations usually come with no Windows license and students need exposure to Open Source alternatives
  • Computers are built and a distribution of linux is installed

Students train computer recipients

  • When computers are given away the students provide the recipients with basic use instruction
    • switch on and off
    • load programs
    • edit, format
    • save and load data files
    • etc.

Current computer configuration

  • Ubuntu linux (Debian derivative)
  • Open Office
  • GIMP
  • Games that are distributed with Ubuntu distro
  • Computers need to have 64MB memory
  • Memory and 2gig+ hard drives are in short supply
  • Computers need to be min. Pentium 266MHz


  • There is a growing body of students who want to develop computer technician skills but do not learn well from theory.
  • Their learning needs to be practical based.
  • This used to be the domain of the 'geek'.
  • Useful for students to learn to do things for others.
  • Useful for students to feel that they have developed skills that are useful to others


  • Bench in existing computer laboratory.
  • Had to get power and network to this bench so that the room could be used for normal classes and this technician class.
  • $1800 - received $500 from Lions

Storage Facilities

  • Old Girls Toilets.
  • Need to work on a better storage area and system for the project.
  • Best option is to install a compactus in our IT storage room


  • Awareness
  • Too big for just my school at this time - would be good to involve more people
  • Miss out on potential grants because not inc. body
  • Storage is an issue
  • A way of reducing the quantity of junk donations without creating a management burden
    • Currently have mid forties on list for a computer and have given away eight
    • Spend a lot of time sifting junk

Tim's work experience

Originally uploaded by Wati Wara.
Tim did four days work experience with us. He has done some computer building and repairing at home and so came to use with some prior knowledge. He was keen to learn and took pride in his achievements. Well done Tim.

Once he got back to his school he was asked to reflect. He had this to say about his experience:
"I enjoyed my work experience at Grant High School. Under the guidance of Mr. Ruwoldt. He let me make decisions and work things out by myself. Mr. Ruwoldt was very supportive and very caring towards me. I have learnt some new ideas, and it was great being able to access their computer repair department which is a great innovation for the school and students to learn this important skill. I would like to do this on another occasion if possible."

Thanks for that. It was a pleasure having you.

Some nice donations

We have had some nice donations recently. A number of computers from Krueger Engineering and Tenison Woods College. Most of these are of the PII vintage and with 64mb RAM and a HDD of 2gig or more makes an ideal machine for giving away. This is about where our minimum specification now needs to be. Thanks for this.

We have spent the first school term with the students developing skills and now we are fairly productive. I expect that we will be in the handover to recipients stage again soon.