The Masonic Angel Foundation delivered 33 more Laptops for KidZ to Nauset Regional Middle School this week. This group of machines included 31 netbooks and 2 traditional laptops. Nauset Middle School has now received 93 computers from the Masons since last spring.
The netbooks are a very basic computer with applications for word processing, spreadsheet and web access. Powered by Windows CE 7, they are similar to the netbooks sold in local pharmacies during the Christmas shopping season.
“Pop-Up” Computer Lab
Laptops for KidZ (LFK) provided the netbooks to NRMS principal Maxine Minkoff as a pilot test of LFK’s “pop-up computer lab” concept. Netbooks are bundled in classroom sets and distributed to students in a class for a specific assignment or project. Projects might include writing assignments, Internet research, spreadsheet work or other structured tasks.
“We envision teachers handing out netbooks the way they used to pass out workbooks when we were in school,” said Laptops for KidZ project director Mario Meré. “This provides an opportunity for an entire class to work on a project together while remaining in the classroom with the teacher right there to guide their work.”
The vast majority of laptops distributed by LFK are sent home with students who do not otherwise have access to a computer outside school hours. According to Masonic Angel Foundation President Robert Fellows, “These netbooks aren’t quite powerful enough to send home with a student but are quite appropriate for many tasks. They’re a great alternative to spending taxpayer money to put a machine in front of a student for word processing and basic computing tasks.”
Nauset Regional Middle School received a total of 38 Windows CE netbooks from LFK this month.
When two Masons arrived at Nauset Middle School to deliver the netbooks, Principal Minkoff conducted them to the classroom of Language Arts teacher Jennifer Gula. Ms. Gula called the rest of her students back into her classroom from the computer lab and immediately distributed the netbooks to the excited students. MAF volunteer Adam Menges mentioned that he was “impressed by how comfortable the children are with technology – they opened the computers and their curiosity took over.” Students will use the machines for in-class writing assignments.
462 computers, $116,000 value
Laptops for KidZ estimates a fair market value of $116,000 for the 462 refurbished computers they’ve placed since May 2010.
Computers are provided to the schools absolutely free of charge, with local Masonic Angel Fund chapters covering the very low cost to refurbish and license the machines. All work is done by the Masons’ team of skilled volunteers. LFK is a non-profit member of the Microsoft Registered Refurbisher Program.
How You Can Help
Laptops for KidZ accepts donations of functional laptops with at least a Pentium 4 processor. LFK accepts select Windows desktops and LCD monitors. The Masons cannot accept Apple products, CRT monitors or printers. Donations to the 501(c)(3) Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. are tax deductible.
(Above photo: Masonic Angel Foundation office cat “Henry” oversees work on one of the 38 netbooks the Laptops for KidZ project placed at Nauset Regional Middle School this month.)