Edtechday.org explains that the event is sponsored by the Educational Technology Foundation of WNY, and is designed to "help educators and community volunteers enrich the lives of children by improving access to modern computer technology. " Basically, a bunch of tech nerds get to wander around technology-starved schools piecing together a variety of donated technologies. I spend much of my free time doing this in the basement with no real purpose or cause, so Ed Tech Day was right up my alley.
Ed Tech Day was this past Tuesday, the 18th. My assignment was Northern Chautauqua Catholic School in Dunkirk. The worse part of the event was the hour and a half drive from my house for the 8am start, but I got to meet some cool folks and picked up a few new tech tricks as well, so the bleary-eyed drive was worth it.
Of the 8 of us volunteering, I was the only one without a professional IT background, but I was still comfortable doing most of the day's chores. It was mostly cleaning up exisiting computers - virus scans, defragging, Windows updates, etc - although I also had the pleasure of unboxing and configuring a brand new Promethean Board. Again, nothing too difficult, so anyone reading this should consider volunteering next year.
The part I'm amazed at is the complete lack of local awareness for such an incredible cause. After seeing the commerical, I sent a tweet out asking if any of my fellow WNYers knew of the event, and didn't receive a single response. Regardless, Ed Tech Day seems to be growing in scope and scale. Here's a portion of a follow-up email I received from foundation president, Elizabeth Schanbacher:
I'm proud to have been one of those 120 people, and I'm looking forward to
The Educational Technology Foundation of WNY would like to thank all of you who braved the heat today to upgrade 18 sites in three different counties for
the 6th annual Ed Tech Day. Over 120 people volunteered to install 7 servers,
deploy 80 computers, install and upgrade 10 wireless networks as well as
complete a myriad of other tasks to ensure access and equity of technology for our community.
doing it again next year. Who's with me?