ELDER reboot in Deer Lake


Deer Lake – Ontario

Friday, 18 November 2011, 03:22 PM

ELDER reboot in Deer Lake

By Austin Lee

About a week and a half after I was introduced to the ELDER project, I had the opportunity to go up to Deer Lake on November 2nd 2011 to introduce the ELDER project to the school there.

It was exciting to be able to go out and work on the project in the front-lines instead of behind a computer screen, but I was also anxious because I still felt unfamiliar with Edubuntu and the other programs I was supposed to put on these school computers.


I arrived at Deer Lake by 11:00am, and went over to the Deer Lake First Nations school to meet the teachers and students. The building itself has a very unique architectural design, and the students and staff, though small in number, were very warm and receptive to my arrival in the community and what I planned to do.



However, it turned out that the school did not have a dedicated IT technician, so the staff there were most interested in fixing up/updating their current computer setup. Many of the desktops in their computer lab weren’t working properly for various reasons. I worked with Germaine, an employee at the school, going through each computer and figuring out what was wrong.


My second day I continued to clean up and fix the computers. By the end of the morning I managed to get all of them in some state of working order. I met with some of the school teachers at lunch to show them some of the software I brought from the ELDER project. The teachers were especially interested in 3 programs: TuxPaint, TuxMath, and TuxType. Their enthusiam was really encouraging.

Unfortunately I never managed to install Edubuntu or Qimo on any of their computers. During my visit, I realized some of the challenges the teachers face. They don’t have the time or the technical support to work with some of these programs. I left the school with two USB drives containing OpenEducationDisc and some other programs, and promised to follow up in the near future with more information and resources.


Deer Lake was my first time working on the ELDER project as well as visiting a First Nations community. It was an eye-opening experience. I realized that the ELDER project may hold potential to make a big impact in communities. However, I also realized these communities also face a number of challenges, including a lack of dedicated technical staff that would support their work with the ELDER project.

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