Technology on a budget at Dayton Elementary School
September 21, 2004
In an entrepreneurial feat worthy of the pioneers who settled Dayton, the staff and volunteers of Dayton Elementary School have put together a 29-station computer lab for about $3,000.
“I think technology is important,” said Principal Nolan Greenburg. “The world in which we all live now, I think it’s important to our children that we give them that skill.”
Computers are also an asset to the basics of education.
“If students are exposed to a skill in the classroom, then see that on the (computer) screen, it’s just one more reinforcement for what we’re trying to accomplish,” Green added.
The school has had a computer lab for about five years before the new version opened its doors last week. However, the previous computers were old and not keeping up with needs.
“It was dysfunctional,” said Gordon Hart, the vision specialist for the county who spends a lot of time working with Dayton Elementary students.
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He decided to contribute to the school in a more direct way than he is usually able because of his itinerant position with the county.
With Greenburg’s backing, Hart began buying computers on eBay for about $20 a piece, plus shipping.
“As money became available, I bought as many as I could and put them in the lab,” he said. “It was a long process. It took patience and understanding from the teachers. They (computers) didn’t always work so good.”
The Dayton Elementary Booster Club did its part by buying software. Hart found many educational programs such as Sight Word and Reading Rabbit on eBay at a fraction of the retail price. More donations came from other parts of the community, including the senior center.
Over the summer, the volunteers working on the lab hit the Mother Lode.
Rae Marie Foster, the secretary to the principal, came across someone working for the National Guard Armory in Reno. They were replacing many of their computers. The school received a donation of 40 computers and 40 monitors that were headed to the dump.
It took nearly six weeks to set up the computers and replace faulty parts.
Many of the older, less powerful, computers were installed in classrooms for limited service.
However, as the lab upgrade came together, the room that housed the lab was lost to a new classroom needed for additional students.
Steve Langdon, in charge of the school’s maintenance, constructed walls to divide a large open room into smaller spaces, including one for the newly improved computer lab.
It’s taken three years, but Dayton Elementary School now has 29 Pentium III computers for the lab in addition to many other computers used in classrooms.
“Not all elementary schools have computer labs,” Greenburg said. “We consider ourselves lucky to have that resource. It took a lot of donations to make it happen.”
Although the computer lab is filled with students every day, there’s still some work to do.
They need to be networked with the county for testing students, which is a job for the county’s technology department.
With only an older-model laser printer, Hart is now also looking out for printers.
Sally Taylor is night editor and Dayton reporter for the Nevada Appeal. Contact her at email@example.com or at 881-1210.