Amrita Lakhanpal has been taking steps to grow interest in the technology sector for Birmingham’s youth. Through her initiative “Screens for Schools” she is raising money to allow her students to have the resources necessary to learn skills in the tech field.
Amrita Lakhanpal is a frequent volunteer for our TechBirmingham kids coding program and a sophomore at The Altamont School. She is extremely enthusiastic about closing the gender divide in the technology field. In an effort to do this, she began volunteering to help at the 100 Girls of Code workshops. She also established a Girls Who Code chapter at her school for fifth and sixth grade girls. Girls Who Code has played a large role in her life; she believes not only in teaching the girls how to code, but also how to serve as a role model. This encouraged her to extend her computer skills classes outside of her school and she contacted EPIC Elementary, which is a Birmingham City School, and began teaching a weekly co-ed computer class at EPIC as a part of their summer camp program for first and second grade. She continued to teach this class through the school year. When she started, she was surprised by how little the students knew about computers, despite the fact that they were growing up in the 21st century. She has now been teaching this class for three years.
EPIC Elementary School is a tax-exempt institution located at 1000 10th Avenue South in Birmingham, Alabama. Currently, many of the desktops at EPIC are unreliable and in need of repair. Although they have a few iPads for the students to use, these iPads are not compatible with many of the programs that they use. Therefore, Amrita started a laptop initiative called Screens for Schools that addresses the need for students to use technology in their everyday learning. Limited access to technology at EPIC Elementary confines the effectiveness of curriculum and instruction. She believes this laptop initiative will provide the students with the technology and opportunity to prepare them for the challenges of the 21st century learner.
What specific purpose will these laptops serve?
The laptops will be used to help complete academic tasks such as homework assignments, presentations, and most importantly, computer education! Also, the laptops could be used for taking the state-required assessments (ACT Aspire). The computers and iPads they currently have are not compatible with the ACT Aspire.
Additionally, the laptops can also be used in the special education room at EPIC Elementary. There are currently one hundred twenty one special needs students at EPIC. These students will be able to reinforce all practice skills in areas such as reading and math, using the laptops.
How much will all this cost and where is the money going?
The total cost to provide EPIC Elementary with two class-sets of Chromebooks (30 laptops each) along with the necessary accessories totals to $15,848.20, which includes sixty laptops and two storage and charging carts. I plan to purchase the first computer with my own money. I hope that local technology companies here in Birmingham will help me in my effort by considering donating to my initiative, and help the students at EPIC Elementary, who through the use of these laptops will increase their confidence, independence, and productivity as learners.
To donate or learn more about Amrita’s initiative, email her at – firstname.lastname@example.org
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