Students tackle: new life for old school computers

At the community school in Todenbuttel (Rendsburg-Eckernforde district), students independently modernize their old school PCs. In a video they share their knowledge with other schools.

by Helge Albrecht

Colorful cables hang between small clamps and mini-screws in the PC housing. The ceiling lighting of the classroom glitters in the soldered joints of the circuit board. Malte puts aside the screwdriver he used to loosen the PC cover and takes a close look at the individual components. "Now you have to know what to take out of it", he says.

"With time you get the hang of it"

At the next table, Piet is also looking inside an old school PC and remembers: "At first, it all looked like a big mess, but as time goes by, you really get into it."

Pupils working on school PCs as part of a working group at the Dorfergemeinschaftsschule Todenbuttel. © NDR Photo: Helge Albrecht

Turning old into new: Pupils spruce up school PCs

Much learned in one half-year

In the meantime, everyone in the school working group has got to grips with the PC construction project. Since last summer, students from the ninth and tenth grade have been screwing with outdated PCs from their computer room. They are something like the IT company of the village community school Todenbuttel. In the voluntary double lesson in the afternoon, they always modernize an old school PC in pairs.

It’s hard to imagine that a teacher once played a role here, so naturally do the students disassemble the old computers into their individual parts. "I don’t need to say anything more", Stefan Mebfeldt, head of the working group, says: "They have even spent several afternoons meeting here at the school."

Save money and resources

Piet and his classmate Ole have now separated the old mainboard, the motherboard, from the cables and unscrewed the screws from the bracket. On a table on the wall behind them, the old circuit boards and graphics cards from their previous tinkering sessions are piled up. Then Ole adds the mainboard. Piet unpacks the new parts, which they want to install right away: Mainboard, CPU, RAM and hard disk. This should make the PC faster and consume less power at the same time.

A completely new PC costs more than 500 euros, says teacher Stefan Messfeldt. On the other hand, they would only spend a good half of the money on the new individual parts. Ole agrees: "It’s a fun thing to do and you save resources. And that is more environmentally friendly than simply throwing away the old PCs." Because: Cases, power supply units, CD drives – they can all be reused.

Funding for sustainable school project

The school even received funding for the sustainable project. 5.000 euros was donated by the Gesellschaft fur Energie und Klimaschutz Schleswig-Holstein GmbH (EKSH). Principal Heike Brunkert is pleased that the project has been so well received: "They also have to think about the economy. How to get materials? You are also fully aware of this chip crisis. That you don’t get anything and that prices have also increased. After all, these are things that matter in business and politics."

Knowledge for other schools through explanatory video

Since many schools often have outdated computers, the participants of the PC-AG want to share their knowledge with other schools. That’s why they made a film about their project. They explain in detail and in individual steps how they recycle the computers. "I guess that’s very important that they can do this too. That way, they can also save money and everything is more relaxed in terms of climate in our country", says Piet about their explanatory video.

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