24 Nov 2012

Olympic technology creates education legacy

It took millions of pounds worth of equipment to keep the Games running smoothly, with Locog leasing 15,900 computers. But now that it’s all long over where has the equipment gone?

Olympic technology creates legacy for eduction

As memories of London 2012 fade, a huge boost is being given to schools with thousands of Olympic computers being passed on to help bring technology to children across the country.

When the last athletes left the stadiums the barely-used infrastructure including over 10,000 PCs, 2,000 laptops and 1,800 servers were left behind. The equipment is worth millions and thanks to a Locog legacy project much of it is now being put to good use.

Schools and charities across the country have been snapping up the high-end technology that powered the games for a fraction of its true cost. While the computers are not given away free, Taiwanese firm Acer have provided laptops at just 17 per cent of the normal price.

At South Dartmoor Community College students were able to start the year with 80 new computers, allowing everyone to have equal access to technology, staff member Richard Penhale explained.

“We thought it was too good to be true when we were contacted about it but we put our names forward and 80 computers are now being used throughout the college.”

“They are a massive improvement, we’ve replaced the entire suite and fitted out the technology department. There are PCs for the library too, so now every student can have access.”

Olympic technology creates legacy for eduction

As part of the Olympic legacy Locog insisted that half the laptops should be assigned to the e-Learning Foundation, with the aim of bringing technology to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Schools in Barking & Dagenham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich and Waltham Forest have all benefitted from the scheme along with the Children’s Hospital School at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Now equipment including smartboards, HD projectors and HD cameras are being offered to schools, and Twitter is playing a key role in getting it out there.

Chris Labrey (@ChrisLabrey) of Econocom, the company that provided the Acer equipment for Locog, has been causing a stir online trying to get the word out to schools and charities about the gear that is available.

He explained that after an initial 500 laptops were provided to the e-Learning foundation he decided to assign the rest of the Olympic tech to as many schools and colleges in the UK as possible:

“From the end of October, we widened eligibility to the programme to include charities, scout groups, sports clubs and other worthy causes,” he explained.

“Over 500 universities, colleges, schools, charities, churches, youth clubs, and many more have now ordered technology from the Games.”

“Following recent adverse publicity of the provision of technology into the education market, we felt it was time the reputable members of the industry put it right.”

The computers were used by the workforce running the 2012 Games to support games management, competition scores, broadcaster support, media centres and athlete’s itineraries.

After the games they were cleaned and refurbished so they are ready for children to use and shipped to schools where they provide support for schoolwork, homework, coursework and revision, with the hope of extending the legacy of London 2012 into the future.