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LVCS seventh-graders Winfield Sletten, left, and Abbie Holtrop inspect their motherboards before installing them into the case of their respective computers.
February 05, 2013
PEDEE -- Seventh-grader Dylan Thompson hunches over an open computer case, fastening screws into each section of a motherboard with the slow, deliberate movements of a surgeon.
Moments earlier, Thompson, who attends Luckiamute Valley Charter School, listened as Peter Hume described how overtightening would crack the board's silicon.
"The processor chip is the most significant part," Hume continued. "Try to be careful touching that metal square ... if you do and the oils of your hands touch that, it will get so incredibly hot that that oil will help burn that chip up faster."
Hence, Thompson's caution.
"I'm a little nervous," Thompson said. "It's hard to know just how tight to get it."
It's worth it. The computers that Thompson and about a dozen of his classmates at LVCS spent one day working on last week comprise the school's new -- and sorely needed -- computer lab.
Hume is the owner of Karmic Computers in Monmouth. He volunteered to walk the kids through the process of how to assemble a computer, as well as explain what each of its components does.
"A big part of this for me is the idea of paying into our community," Hume said. "It's important that businesses become mindful of that ... if we don't collectively look at why our kids are falling behind, we're not going to be able to compete with other countries that are designed to put their kids first."
LVCS recently received a $2,500 grant from Consumers Power to assist with purchasing the 15 machines for a lab at the Pedee campus. Until last week, the school has been utilizing donated computers that are nearly a decade old.
And not all of those worked properly, said Tammy Pryce, LVCS business manager. That makes state testing, now done entirely by computer, for all of the students a slow process.
"We have to pull a couple of kids out of class at a time," Pryce said.
On this day, each of the students learned how to install a motherboard, hard drive, DVD-drive, sticks of RAM and a processor chip.
"It's good that kids get to know what goes into technology and have an understanding of it," Hume said. "The average computer user, adult or kid, is more intimidated by machines than they have to be."
Mitchell Hill, an eighth-grader, said he mostly uses his computer at home for Facebook or watching videos on YouTube. He, like many of his classmates, had never seen the guts of a computer before, much less put them together. It wasn't too hard, he said.
"I'll probably try to put a computer of my own together, when I get good at it," Hill said.