Old lap­tops re­booted for learn­ing at school

Cambridge Edition - - OUT & ABOUT - CAITLIN MOORBY

If you’ve got an old lap­top ly­ing around con­sider giv­ing it to Carol-Lynn Hill.

The Cambridge Pri­mary School teacher is af­ter old lap­tops and tablets, which would oth­er­wise end up at the dump, to put them into the hands of chil­dren.

‘‘I re­ally have a pas­sion to make a dif­fer­ence for chil­dren, es­pe­cially with learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties,’’ Hill said.

‘‘I be­lieve as­sisted tech­nol­ogy is one way that can en­able some chil­dren op­por­tu­ni­ties to ac­cess the full cur­ricu­lum.’’

Through a pro­gramme called Chromium, Hill has given old lap­tops a new lease of life.

‘‘I re­move Win­dows, which is the one thing that slows up old ma­chines, and adapt and in­stall a re­ally light ver­sion op­er­at­ing sys­tem onto the de­vices.’’

It takes her a cou­ple of hours to do the con­ver­sion on each de­vice and then there’s a $15 sub­scrip­tion to have it run the soft­ware.

It doesn’t mat­ter if it’s Mac or Win­dows or a Chrome Book, Hill said the con­ver­sion works on most de­vices.

With the way the cur­ricu­lum is to­day, de­vices make it eas­ier, par­tic­u­larly with chil­dren with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, Hill said.

‘‘We’ve got a lot of dyslexic chil­dren at school and a de­vice in their hand opens up a whole new world.

‘‘Most dyslexic stu­dents are in­cred­i­bly bright and in­tel­li­gent, but their abil­ity to read can some­times pre­vent them from in­de­pen­dent learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that re­quire reading.’’

Ev­ery child in Hill’s class now has ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy if they need it, thanks to do­na­tions from the com­mu­nity and busi­nesses such as LIC and Gal­lagher. She’s given five de­vices to an­other class­room and she hopes to col­lect more for use with spe­cial needs pupils.

Teacher CarolLynn Hill helps pupils Hay­ley Pen, 9, and Alan Rach­mani, 8.

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