Last December, Lenovo and Intel sponsored a giveaway which offered the opportunity for three different worthy causes to win 5 Lenovo M90z All-in-one PCs for their organization. One of the winning organizations was the Harbor Science and Arts Charter School in New York City. The school is committed to providing a challenging, rigorous, standards-based curriculum and currently has over 200 students enrolled in grades one through eight.
This week we visited the school and had the opportunity to see the students and faculty interacting with the M90z PC’s in person. At the moment the computers are set up in a temporary location while the school prepares a new science lab where the M90z’s will be the focal points of the lab. Fortunately because the M90z is so compact, they’re not worried about having too move it around. On hand was Ann Bommarito, the school’s Assessment and Development Administrator, who told us that their IT staff really appreciated how quick and easy it was to set-up the systems when they first received them. As a matter of fact, the school’s IT guys were so impressed with the system that they even asked if they could use one for their own work, but they were turned down.
Ann says that they plan to use the Lenovo M90z’s for kids to work on developing science and art Powerpoint presentations and for students to use in a special writing an technology class. They also plan on installing graphics design software on it for their art students. Finally, the computers will be available for students whom don’t have computers at home to use after school . Speaking of students who don’t have computers, much to our shock and dismay, Ann explained that many of the students at Harbor Science and Arts Charter School don’t have computers at home, so the only opportunity they have to interact with computers, is at school.
She also told us that before receiving the M90z’s, they had been using ancient Apple iMac G3s and some old clunker desktop PCs, which were constantly breaking down. The M90z’s design happens to be very convenient for students and teachers, since it gives them plenty of room to leave their books and papers near them while they work, instead of being crowded in by bulky desktops and a wirey mess. We also observed that the kids are interacting with the system mostly, sans a physical keyboard. The students we spoke to told us that they love the touchscreen and large display on the M90z and that “it’s fast and a lot of fun to use”.
Ann explained that technology donations like PCs are the highest priority for the school, even more so than cold hard cash.
“We don’t want money, we need technology. This is what is going to bring these kids into the future.”