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Assessment Questions

The following questions, taken from the Educator's Guide to Assessing the Cost of Donated Computers by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) (http://www.siia.net/divisions/education), can be used as an aid in determining whether to accept or not accept computer that are offered to your school or institution as donations.

General 

  • Will the acceptance of this hardware preclude the purchase of more current technologies?
  • Will the acceptance of this hardware send the right message to your students and community?
  • Will the benefits to the donating institution or business outweigh the problems faced when the equipment is used in an instructional setting?

Software

  • Will the computer run the software that you currently have?
  • Does it come loaded with software?
  • Has this software been transferred to the school per the specifications of the license agreement? (Although all license agreements vary, generally you should receive a copy of the license, original manual, and original diskettes.)
  • If not, do you have legal copies of the manuals?
  • If not, what is the cost of getting legal copies?
  • Does the existing software meet your needs?
  • Does it fit into your existing educational programme?
  • Do your teachers and students need training to use it?
  • What's the cost of developing a teaching programme that takes advantage of the software?

Hardware

  • Is the donated computer a brand and model you already have?
  • Does the donated computer work?
  • If not, what will it cost to fix?
  • If it would be cost prohibitive to repair, could some of the parts be used to upgrade equipment you already have?
  • Does it have upgrades and peripherals you are using?
  • If not, what will they cost to install?
  • Is it a current model?
  • What will maintenance cost?
  • Are there parts still available for the hardware?

Instructional Needs

  • Can the hardware run the software you use to support instruction today?
  • If necessary, can the hardware be modified cost-effectively to run the software you use to support instruction today?
  • Is the hardware useful for drill and practice, simulation, multimedia, or other everyday classroom tasks?
  • Does the hardware (lack of) speed impact the use of instructional time and materials?
  • Is the hardware able to be used without additional student instruction?
  • Is the hardware "student-proof"?
  • Does the hardware work with the peripherals and software to support students with special needs?
  • Is the hardware the best instructional tool for use in your classroom?