July 28, 2021

BY STEPHANIE LEFEBVRE
With Christmas almost a month behind us, it seems nearly everyone is walking around with new gadgets and gizmos. The question is, what happened to the old ones?
Many places offer proper ways to recycle technology and some people choose to sell them used online. But for the most part they sit in closets or drawers collecting dust.
Jeff Stephens is hoping to change that.
Being the lead instructor of the renewable energy techniques program at Conestoga College’s Doon campus, Stephens wants to accrue five to 10 Apple products to help his students in their program.
He is asking for any kind of iPad, iPhone, iPod, et cetera that has a camera and can be used to install an application, or “app,” and an eBook.
Stephens is a Google Android user and only has limited knowledge of the Apple operating systems and the devices themselves, but he still insists only this brand be used in his classroom.
“There is an app from one of the solar insulation measuring companies that is for the iPhone but it’s not for Android,” he said. “And I’ve also found that there are some textbooks that are in the series that I like that are available at very, very low cost in eBook format for the iPhone.”
Currently, the approximately 20 students in the class are paying about $200 to get their textbooks from the bookstore. If Stephens could get his hands on one iPhone for every four students, it could bring down their cost exponentially.
“The eBook could be more functional; it would be in the palm of their hand. It can be something they can carry out to the outdoor labs that I’ve set up,” said Stephens.
Not to mention, it would keep his students fairly current as far as technology is concerned. They would be able to go do site assessments to get some hands-on experience without toting thousands of dollars worth of equipment with them to each site.
So, last semester Stephens reached out to his fellow staff members via email for help in his quest for donations. Though he said many people were on board with the idea, they had no Apple products to offer.
“The only responses I had were people who had non-smartphones and non-iPhones,” he said. “It doesn’t get me any closer to the result I was looking for.”
He also noted that there were BlackBerrys and Samsung smartphones offered but they aren’t capable of running the application he wants to use in his class.
Though the original email was only sent to staff members, Stephens was thinking of branching out to advertise the need for the unwanted yet functional devices. But he said it’s hard to ask students who are usually strapped for cash to give anything away for free.
In the meantime, Stephens wants to get his hands on at least one device in order to learn more about the functions and capabilities of the operating system.
“I don’t want to spend too much time and effort on advertising. I still haven’t put my hands on one and the software to put it all together.”
If Stephens gets a device, he still has to figure out how much it will cost him to install the app he wants on about 10 devices at little or no cost to the students.
However, the project is still in the early stages and he’s holding out hope.
“It’s just sort of a throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks sort of thing.”