Executive Director's Notes
Computers for Schools
A Program Worthy of Support
By Neil Windsor, P.Eng.
Who can deny that computers and other technologies still being developed
will impact the lives of future generations perhaps more than anything
else, barring a third world war. In fact, the impact of such things on
society during the past decade exceeded all predictions and technology
continues to change daily. Engineers and geoscientists can take credit,
and responsibility, for much of that change. As well, our professions
probably rely on the technologies we have created more than any other
segment of society and have more to gain from these technologies. Perhaps,
therefore, we should also give something back.
APEGGA has a number of programs designed to raise awareness of our professions
in the minds of young people and emphasize the importance of science and
mathematics. The Outreach
Program sends a contingent of some 200 professional members into our
schools to contact students directly and talk with them about the opportunities
offered by high-tech careers. Other programs, such as National
Engineering Week, the Science
Olympics, science fairs, and the Teacher
Awards Program all support and reinforce the work of these volunteers.
Following through to post-secondary levels, the Student Liaison Program
offers a host of initiatives designed to create an awareness of and affinity
for the professions.
Without question, the scholars of tomorrow, regardless of discipline,
will depend on and use computers daily as they build their careers. Experience
has shown that young people have a natural ability and ease of understanding
of computers and, hence, the ability to comprehend the powerful tools
that they are. Governments, school boards, and parent groups have all
recognized the need to make computers available to young people early
in their education career.
The Alberta Computers for Schools Program is part of a federal government
initiative being delivered across Canada and supported in many cases by
provincial governments and private industry. The program accepts used
computers and components from various sources, refurbishes and upgrades
them where possible, and makes them available, free of charge, to schools
and libraries throughout Alberta. APEGGA Council has agreed to support
this very worthwhile initiative through promotion of the very real benefits
it presents and by encouraging our members to offer their used equipment
to the program. More than 32,000 members, and their colleagues and staff,
represent a huge pool of potential surplus equipment that could be of
tremendous benefit to the program. It is just one way that we,
as professionals, can give back to society part of what we have reaped.
The impact on future generations of young people, many of whom will become
engineers and geoscientists, will be significant. Together, we have an
opportunity to make Alberta Computers for Schools the most successful
program in the nation.
APEGGA will lead the way by donating any surplus equipment available
in the Edmonton or Calgary offices, and Council encourages members and
companies to also support the program. This is a tremendous opportunity
for us all to contribute to the education of our youth and to make a real
difference to the Alberta Advantage.
Neil Windsor, P.Eng., is APEGGA's Executive Director and Registrar.
For additional information see Computers
for Schools, on page 9 of the PEGG.