BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
More than $2 million in free technology has gone to schools in fiscal 2020 through the Defense Logistics Agency-managed DOD Computers For Learning.
First-time program recipient Schlarman Academy, a K-12 institution in Danville, Illinois, provided an example of the program’s potential by receiving 61 personal computers this year.
“These computers were a major upgrade for us,” said David Calkins, who serves as Schlarman’s technology coordinator. “The computers that we previously had in use at our high school campus were at least 10 years old and running Windows 7 and Office 2010. The lab of computers at our elementary school were from 2008. We were running all Windows 7 machines and Office 2010 in that lab, also.”
Schlarman Academy received 50 out of 94 “new in the box” computers turned in to the DLA Disposition Services Susquehanna property disposal site by an Army unit at the Watervliet Arsenal in New York’s Hudson River Valley. Another 11 computers came from the DLA site in Fort Riley, Kansas. The entire process, from request to receipt, took about a month, Calkins said, and saved the school a substantial amount of money.
“New computers for the elementary school lab, high school classroom and general use computer lab would have cost us around $55,000,” Calkins said. “We were able to get the computers from Susquehanna for the cost of shipping – approximately $1,800.”
Calkins said the only work required on the machines, accomplished with the volunteer help of some parents and students, was unboxing them, installing both the Windows 10 operating system and Office 2019, then adding school software.
“The students of Schlarman Academy have been in need of new computers within both buildings for a long time,” said Principal Mark Janesky, noting that more than 300 students use the PCs regularly. “The installation of new computers in the grade school building has even allowed us to introduce new instructional classes in computer science to all of the kindergarten through 6th grade students. The new machines at the junior high and high school building allow students to use up-to-date hardware and software for many class projects and assignments.”
Calkins said he screens for property regularly and first became aware of DOD’s CFL offerings about a decade ago and has received some monitors and laptops through a similar General Services Administration donation program in the past.
“I will log in to the website to look at anything that looks like it would work for us,” Calkins said. “Mostly, we are looking for desktop computers, monitors, and laptop computers, as those are the greatest need for our school. We do check the list for other items like servers and printers if they are close enough to the school to drive and pick up.”
More information on Computers For Learning can be found at the DLA website.