Nice to see some interest in reviving this wonderful program after a long period of pandemic-inflicted dormancy.
It sounds as though Kenny may have offered a good solution to the storage issue; but if for any reason that doesn’t pan out, Learningtech.org
does have a storage unit and we could free up a couple of shelf units, depending on the size and shape of what needs storing. We do have some leftover micro:bit v2’s (but not the new v3’s) to help kick off another Saturday event once we feel confident we can do so safely.
A couple of other things worth mentioning:
- We finally took our fleet of loaner laptops to e-recyling. Because of end-of-support/end-of-life issues and risk of malware, these Windows 7.5 units were no longer a viable solution to ensuring that no child is left out for want of a device. Learningtech.org
is actively involved with programs such as the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which is an offshoot of E-Rate that helps families (through their schools) to obtain laptops or at least Chromebook’s. Unfortunately, many schools have been so overwhelmed with more urgent matters that they opted not to participate, so of course there remain many
underserved students who would be left out of future HtF events over this issue. I would love to work with HtF to find a way to put in place a supportable fleet of devices appropriate for HtF events going forward. We were bringing upwards of 30 devices to the last few such events and often nearly all were checked out.
- Microsoft had kindly generated ~ten Windows 10 laptops and we spent some time trying to get those into working order — in hopes of ghosting them with the required software including a modern version of Unity. Alas, they were not in as good of shape as we had hoped. We tried cannibalizing some to get others working and so on, but we kept hitting barriers such as a few with an unknown firmware level passwords, etc. We eventually concluded that, especially since the remaining few would always require a separate cloning image, it might not be worth further effort (and then the pandemic made it pointless anyway). Surely there are some large laptop vendors who might consider a donation to HtF, in return for prominent mention on the HtF website, T-shirts, etc? I believe that current inequities in CS/Making/STEAM education warrant a serious effort to ensure that all children, regardless of background, feel welcomed and enabled during every HtF event. With decent modern laptops costing under $1K, a fleet of 25-30 seems within range for an unsolicited “ask.” To be realistic about support and maintenance, we need all-identical hardware, not scrounged individual donations.
- I have been remiss in reconciling bookkeeping on behalf of HtF versus records kept by other volunteers. There is probably some money (not a huge amount) owed to HtF by Learningtech.org
. It might be less work for Learningtech.org
to just make a modest donation to HtF and then declare things square than to sort through 2-year-old receipts — but please know that we will make this right somehow. I’ll look to volunteers to offer estimates of any discrepancies and we will put it right.
- It might be too short of notice to plan an event, but forecasts of new covid infections are suggesting that by early March it could be pretty safe to hold an event, especially if we require some sort of evidence that the attendees are being careful. One possibility might be an “instant” (15 minute) Covid test at the door, plus handing out N95 or KN95 masks at the door (maybe with an HtF Logo?). Although each district chooses different dates for Spring Break, a high number of them choose the week of March 14. So, if we want to do something soon, I would suggest March 19 as a propitious date. I will hold it on my own calendar pending further discussion.
It will certainly be great when we can get back to doing this important work.