Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Teacher builds computer lab... For free.

I don't normally just link to another blog/article but I couldn't pass this one up. It is a story that needs to be told and spread as much as possible...

Everyone knows that these days technology has become a huge part of education. There are tons of schools using laptops, iPads, digital whiteboards, etc. in the classroom now. Computers are an essential part of getting the younger generations ready to compete in the current and future job market. Without at least a basic set of computer skills there are many jobs that will simply be out of reach to them.

Unfortunately, there are still many schools that simply do not have the budget for a computer lab or other equipment to help their students get a head start on learning to deal with computers. Such was the case at ASCEND, a "small arts K-8 school in Alameda County School District" in California. With no budget for equipment, one teacher took it upon himself to make sure the students at his school had the basic tools they needed to jump-start their education in technology. With the help of donated computers and some Open-Source software (Ubuntu Linux) Robert Litt, a sixth-grade teacher, set up a full computer lab for his student for the grand total of $0.

To read the whole story, check out: "How One Teacher Built a Computer Lab for Free" at ifixit.org.

How One Teacher Built a Computer Lab for Free
Donated Computers


How One Teacher Built a Computer Lab for Free
Open Source Operating Systems


How One Teacher Built a Computer Lab for Free
A Free Computer Lab!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Neck/Back Injury, Worker's Compensation, and Other Updates

First of all, I want to apologize to everyone for being absent for so long. I've been meaning to post lately but between work, doctor visits, and family obligations things have been a bit stressful. Why the doctor visits, you ask? Because the human body is stupid. The other day I was at work and had to move around some big rolls of print material to get to the roll that I needed. Over the course of my graphic design/digital printing career I have done this hundreds upon hundreds of times. It is usually a very easy process. The rolls are 54" tall and weigh anywhere from 5 to 80 pounds depending on how much material is left on the roll. You only have to lift them a few inches off the ground to move them so it is usually a pretty simple process. I lifted this particular roll the same way I have lifted countless others. 

Something went wrong this time though. When I lifted it I immediately felt a sharp, stabbing pain in the base of my neck and through my upper back. It didn't really hurt that bad at first, just enough to be noticeable, but I went and sat down for a bit anyway. The pain slowly got worse so the office filled out the incident reports for worker's compensation just in case. I decided to put a visit to the doctor off to see if it would work itself out. Unfortunately, it didn't. So the next day I went to the doctor to get it checked out. They gave me some meds and told me to take it easy for a few days and to come back in a week if it wasn't better. It has been getting increasingly more painful and my range of motion is pretty limited. So I went back to the doctor today and they gave me more meds and are scheduling me an MRI.

While all of this has been going on I've been on restricted duty. No lifting more than 5lbs., etc. So I've pretty much been chained to my desk. It is starting to suck. While my main job is graphic design, I also run the printers and other hardware in the art department. I enjoy that part of the job. It gets me away from my computer for a bit and makes the day seem to go by faster. Now I'm stuck at my desk for a full 8 hours. It is making me twitchy. I'm hoping my neck is just strained or something and will get better soon. I feel like a wuss just sitting around while everyone else is doing the "real work." I even had to ask my boss to come upstairs the other day to load a roll of material onto the printer. He was happy to do it but I still don't like being "that guy."

Other than that things have been going pretty well. Even though I'm still in a financial black hole, I almost have my student loan situation lined out. Once everything is processed I'll be able to go back to school. Sometimes I feel like I'm too old to even bother but it has always been a goal of mine to finish my education. And if I can get it done I'll still have many years left to teach. I know a lot of professors who worked well into their 70's. I'm still a long way off from my goals but as long as I am making progress it keeps me motivated.

I'll try to get back to posting on a regular schedule soon. I got a new phone, and its pretty awesome, so I'm planning on doing a review on it. And of course football season is coming up so there will no doubt be many Fantasy Football posts to come.

I hope you are all doing well. Thanks for reading.