Spring is in the air, and with it comes spring cleaning. For universities looking to get rid of old technology, there are a number of ways to recycle it safely; however, the best way involves keeping it in the community.
After seeing the abysmal conditions at her daughter’s public school computer lab, Theresa Jenkins, manager of technology, facilities and events at Towson, tells Campus Technology that she thought the surplus of decommissioned computers from recent upgrades at the university might come in handy at the local K–12 schools.
What resulted was likely more than she imagined.
Towson U’s Program Offers Tech and Valuable Experience
Towson’s leaders soon realized that EduCycle was a win-win for both the university and the school district. Along with receiving newer technology, BCPS also received something else it was interested in: an internship program for students to learn how to refurbish computers. Towson University started the program to allow high school and college students to get valuable hands-on experience that helps out the university’s bottom line, Campus Technology reports.
“So not only did we have a mechanism to get rid of our computers, which were still new to Baltimore County Schools, but we had a way to store computers on our campus too,” Jenkins tells Campus Technology. “We realized we could help save money for the university, give back to the community and focus on sustainability.”
EduCycle has also redeployed computers on Towson’s campus to help support special projects, student organizations and professional development initiatives, the program’s site reports.
As of mid-March, EduCycle had repurposed 1,676 computers on campus and deployed 1,426 computers in the K–12 public schools.
University and K–12 Partnerships Drive Success
Partnerships like this one can be critical for K–12 schools looking to deliver a 21st-century education. In addition to technology, universities can also provide K-12 schools with expertise and experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
For example, Atlantis Charter School in Fall River, Mass. partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create STEM Academy, a program where students use innovative technology and learn the ins and outs of the iterative engineering design process, EdTech reports. By teaching students complex concepts at an earlier level, they are more prepared for college and a career.
The University of Texas at San Antonio and the San Antonio Independent School District came together to create an entire high school aimed at teaching students real-world tech skills such as coding, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship and more, reports EdTech. That partnership also allows UTSA student-teachers to work with the high school’s teachers on designing new curriculum.
Whether it’s through technology or experiences, partnerships change both universities and school districts for the better.