Chances are you know about the digital divide, but not about the Kramden Institute’s work to help hardworking students in grades 3 – 12 who don’t have a computer in their home cross it.

You also might be shocked to learn that while information technology seems to be ubiquitous, a full 23% of U.S. households still don’t have a computer.

For most of the students we serve, working with computers is an exercise in persistence: rationed minutes in a school computer lab, fighting for time in a crowded library, or working on obsolete machines in after-school programs. Owning a working computer that these students and their families can use in the comfort and safety of their homes is a luxury that most have never contemplated.

Since Kramden’s founding in 2003, we’ve helped make owning a home personal computer a reality for over 12,500 deserving students. Each computer is refurbished through the efforts of our dedicated corps of volunteers, who come weekly to work on machines donated by individuals and corporations. Once a student is nominated by a teacher, they are awarded a desktop computer, flat screen monitor, keyboard, mouse, and lifetime tech support for as long as the student is enrolled in school. And, of course, each computer includes a freshly-loaded operating system.

As a longtime member of Microsoft’s Registered Refurbisher program, Kramden has been installing various flavors of Windows for over nine years, beginning with Windows 2000 all the way to Windows 7. Despite a steady progression of Windows operating systems paired with faster, more powerful computers, we have long asked ourselves if the computers we are awarding to students are sufficient. Other than the Windows operating system, we typically install only a few programs, including:

  • LibreOffice, the open source personal productivity software suite
  • Interactivate, a computational math and science program designed by Shodor
  • Google Chrome

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Written by Kramden1

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