Got a computer problem?
Bring your machine over to Payson High School this Saturday and let some very precocious and proficient students take a look at it for you.
The event, "Survey of Computer Technology Fund-raiser," is being held for two purposes to help computer students pay for their A+ computer certification tests (which cost $240 each) and to help purchase operating systems for the donated computers the students work on in teacher Joe Pauley's "Survey of Computer Technology" class.
"People can bring in their computers if they're having trouble and we will do a general troubleshooting as far as things like software diagnostics go, general scan disc, defrag," Pauley said. "We can see why the system is running sluggish and we'll happily take care of whatever we can on the spot."
While there is no charge for the service, donations will be gratefully accepted.
Pauley, who normally teaches English, started the computer class last year when PHS began participating in a program run by a nonprofit organization called Arizona StRUT (for Students Recycling Used Technology), which provides students with computer technology and training using surplus equipment.
The impetus behind StRUT is an ever greater need to "grow our own" technical talent in Arizona, starting at the high school level. Through the organization, PHS and 31 other high schools, colleges and vocational schools across Arizona receive free computers donated by companies like Motorola, Intel, Arizona Public Service, T-Manage, ICM Conversion and Sechler CPA.
"We currently have 100 higher end machines, all from large businesses like Boeing and Motorola to work with," said Pauley. "They are, for the most part, quality machines that were replaced to upgrade."
At the very least, each machine needs a new operating system at a cost of about $20 per system.
"The school district doesn't have the money to pay for those," Pauley said, "so that's why we need to raise some money. Essentially, we get a lot of equipment (for a very small investment) and it benefits both the school and the community."
Of the computers his students are able to refurbish, about 80 to 90 percent of the ones they receive, 20 percent are kept at PHS for use in classrooms, and 80 percent are donated to various nonprofit and charitable organizations throughout the Rim country.
"We just completed a small math lab, and we are going to do writers labs," Pauley said, " wherever we can find a need."
Nonprofit organizations in need of computers can call Pauley to participate in the program.
Last year, the first for the class, 12 students repaired a total of 264 machines. The class has become so proficient that they also assumed the responsibility for maintaining and repairing all the computers on the PHS campus.
"When a teacher has a problem, they diagnose, troubleshoot and repair as necessary," Pauley said. While most repairs are minor, like a mouse that isn't working, students often "get into higher level problems" like a network freezing or a complete rebuild.
The A+ certification test the students will take allows them to become entry-level computer service technicians.
"It's a tough test," Pauley said. "But these are generally advanced placement students and they work very hard."
(The Saturday event) runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in room C-1 at Payson High School. Pauley, who is A+ and MCSE certified, will oversee the work performed by his students. All machines must run on Windows 95, 98, 2000 or XP, and it's not necessary to bring your monitor or keyboard just "the box."
"It's a great deal," Pauley said. "We'll perform a 20-point inspection and do what we can to up the performance of the system. We kind of look at it as a free oil change."
For more information or to make an appointment, contact Lauren Bartoli at 970-0240 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.phsenglish.com/SCTClass or emerging_tech.tripod.com. While appointments are preferred, walk-ins will be accepted.