Maine high school IT students refurb PCs

Nonprofit gets near-current technology, students get hands-on experience building and refurbishing computers.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

A high school in Maine has come up with a solution to those pesky outdated school computers—fix 'em up and give them away to other students. The idea has far-reaching benefits for everyone involved, reports the Portland Press Herald.

Students in the Information Technology program at the Sanford Regional Vocational Center take apart and rebuild computers, which will be given to Caring Unlimited, clients who are enrolled in college classes. They turn out about 100 upgraded units per year. In return, the students gain practical repair skills in the technology field, as well as a sense of civic pride.

"The vocational school's main objective is to offer real world experience," said program director Mike Harrison.

Pentium-based machines less than four years old are donated to the program. Students strip down the machines and upgrade them to bring them to near-current technology, including installing Microsoft Office.

"The majority of what we're working on are older machines but we prefer those with Windows 98 or newer for those who might be using dial-up," said Harrison.

The students enrolled in the class get valuable time honing their knowledge of applications and compatible hardware.

"This gives them lots of exposure while they're working for their A+ certification, which a student should have completed and been tested for prior to applying for a job (in the computer field)," said Harrison. "Because of the diversity of what's coming in, it gives students greater exposure to systems out there and you become better trained in greater aspects of computer repair that they're likely to encounter post high school. "
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