July 13, 2018

VSU Hosts Middle School Students for Computer Building Workshop

VALDOSTA — Middle school students from Valdosta City Schools learned firsthand how to build a computer from scratch at the Computer Construction Zone Workshop held at Valdosta State University’s STEAM Center for Applied Creativity and Innovation.

The free event was a partnership between VSU and Valdosta City Schools.

Led by Richard Smith, an engineering and technology teacher at J.L Newbern Middle School, the students each put together a Dell computer console and learned how to set up software to make it run.

The computers, which the participants took home after the workshop, were built entirely from recycled electronics donated by Valdosta City Schools.

“This is a win-win-win for everybody,” said Smith, referencing the fact that the event helps to keep the landfills clean, local schools are providing experiential learning opportunities for students, and participants are gaining valuable tech skills and a free computer. 

The event was one of three Computer Construction Zone workshops that will take place throughout July.

Dr. Brian Gerber — a faculty member in VSU’s Department of Middle, Secondary, Reading, and Deaf Education and faculty coordinator for the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) Center — said the workshops reflect VSU’s mission to foster economic development in the region by inspiring the next generation of computer scientists and engineers who could eventually bring much needed tech jobs and businesses to the area.

“None of these kids had computers at home before this,” he said. “This workshop helps to level the playing field in terms of tech literacy. Everything they do in the future will require computers, and with these tech skills and a new computer, they won’t be at a disadvantage as they continue their education and launch their careers.” 

Artayvion Coachman, a rising sixth-grader at J.L. Newbern Middle School, said he was excited to build the computer “piece by piece” and is already thinking of what he’ll use it for — making gaming and animation videos to show the world. 

Contact Jessica Pippin, STEAM Center for Applied Creativity and Innovation coordinator, at (229) 253-2985 or jnpippin@valdosta.edu to learn more.

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