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'Community Computer Recycle' Scheme

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Yet again we have given another computer away

Report from the student handling the computer give away yesterday follows

Yet again we have given another computer away. This person wasn't really computer literate so I had to show them how to use the open source software. I also showed them how to clean the mouse etc. They greatly appreciated the computer and repeatedly said thank you to [teachersname] and me.
This one went to a senior secondary student.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Students taking on greater management role

The following is a description of the task of giving away a computer from a student's point of view.

"Wednesday the 19th I gave a computer away to a person. The process that I had to take to give this computer away was. Firstly I had been given the name of a person that would greatly benefit from having a computer at home. After I was given the name I met with this person and organised for a time that they could come in and check the computer out. I showed them all that they needed to know about the computer, like showing them the differences between windows and the operating system that we loaded on to the computer (linux), I show them the basics of the computer like opening a wordprocessor document, saving documents, loading documents. Then we organised a time that they could take the computer home. I felt really good after they took the computer home and deep down I felt that they greatly appreciated being given a computer"

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thanks from COMREC

We have just received a letter of thanks from Graeme, Regional Coordinator of COMREC.

The total purpose of this letter is to thank you, your outstanding students and Grant High School for your generosity in providing three computers for use here at COMREC.

Currently we have 15 disabled clients with severe and multiple disabilities plus several with challenging behaviors on our programme. The programme includes cooking, swimming, horse riding, craft, outings, lifeskills training plus a course education in technology such as computing. Several of our clients have a specific goal to improve their skills in computing.

I would like to thank the two students who explained the computers for their patience and skill especially as they were communicating to two disabled young men.

Well that's OK Graeme. We are proud of our students too and we are happy to give away these computers. It is a good excuse for our students to learn in a constructive useful environment.

Doing this would not be possible without the support of our community though. The people that donate computers and money.
Thanks to those that support the scheme in this way.

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.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

How can we get other groups involved?

Collection of monitors in the old 'Community House'.

Monitors are plentiful and take up lots of room. They are also the most difficult part of a computer system to dispose of with some sort of ecological responsibility.

We have 4-6 students running the recycle scheme who meet for about 3 hours per week to do this work and learning. My experience with the project to date indicates that the job seems to be bigger than what we can handle. The old Community House used to run the recycle scheme making use of 'work for the dole' people. They could contribute about 15 hours per week to this and so a lot more could get done. I think that we need to work out a way for other groups, outside of Grant High School, to become involved. Posted by Hello

We will be ruthless - storage is a big problem for us.

'Old Community House' - lots of old boxes and components.

I reckon that we need to bring in a skip and be fairly ruthless with what is kept and what is not.

The biggest problem that we have at Grant High School with running the recycle scheme is storage space. We can not afford to make our problem worse. I reckon that a few volunteers could sort this out with me one Sunday afternoon. Posted by Hello

Old Community House

Old Community House

I have just been done to the old 'Community House' to look at the remnants of the computer recycle scheme that used to operate from there. The house got into some sort of difficulty and has been closed down for a while. Anglican Community Care will now be running the Community House.

As it turns out they are our partners in the 'Community Computer Recycle' (CCR) Scheme. People can apply to Anglican Community Care for a computer through our scheme. They process the requests and we do the recycling, in a nutshell.

There are three rooms of computers, boxes, monitors and parts. We need to sort this out and work out what is useful and what is not. Posted by Hello

Monday, February 21, 2005

Guarding privacy with donated computers

Organisations and individuals may have some concerns relating to protecting privacy. To assist with this we have developed a process for processing all donated computers.

Students have participated and responded very responsibly to making improvements to this process.

When donated computers arrive for the recycle scheme we
  • store them until our next lesson
  • boot them to BIOS to determine specifications
  • If the hard drive is of a useful size we use a program to over write the data on the disk.
  • If the hard drive is not of a useful size we remove the hard drive and physically drill a hole through it to render it useless
Thanks to one of our students for doing the research to find a program for erasing hard disks.
The program that we use to over write the data on the disk is "Active@ KillDisk FREE version"


We welcome feedback to make this process better.