February, 2000

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.

Powerful Tools

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.

Council Endorsement

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 Donation

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.

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