Photos and quotes courtesy of Sarah Lamb (@geekylamb)
All around the world, December is a month for spending time with family and being grateful. Part of being grateful means giving back just like superfan and Lenovo INsider Sarah Lamb.
"A few months back our local pre-school asked if anyone had an old laptop that they could donate. So I asked them what sort of thing they needed and they said anything that works because their 10 year old desktop PC that they had been using had just stopped working. The CD drive wouldn't work and it was running so slow that it was almost unusable. So I said leave it with me and a few weeks later dropped down my old netbook and loaded their software on it.
In the meantime, I got in touch with the Lenovo INsiders programme and asked if it would be possible for them to donate a laptop that was more suitable, ideally with a touch screen and CD drive. Lenovo did not disappoint! They donated both a Lenovo Flex and a tablet PC (Miix 2) with detachable keyboard." - Sarah
"When I received the devices I ran the Windows updates and then loaded the pre-school games onto them and last week popped into the school with an early Christmas gift. The staff couldn't believe it. They were so delighted with the new laptops but were initially a bit scared of letting the children use them in case they broke them. I have since reassured them that these devices are there to be used and enjoyed and showed them how they can set them up for the children to use in touchscreen mode so that they don't pull the keys off the keyboards (which small children do!). And let them see how sturdy they are. Pointing out the toughened glass really can live up to sticky fingers and some tough handling. They are now much more confident with them and the children absolutely love them!" - Sarah
The local preschool was elated and shared this heartfelt message:
"We are delighted and absolutely thrilled to have these two new devices for our school. The children absolutely love them and are so engaged and excited to use them. They are loving learning in new ways. This is more than we ever expected when we put a note on the door asking for a second-hand laptop."
Have you done a donation like this before? How did you go about it?
Yes I have, I gave my old laptop 82-year-oldar old grandmother to teach her how to use the internet. And I donated my old netbook to a local school to help get children there using computers. I also set up Girl Geek Dinners to bring women in technology together so they could network and learn from one another.
How can others give back? Any advice?
If you are given a new laptop, tablet or mobile phone look at where the old one could be put to best use. Rather than giving it to another family member where only one person might benefit from it why not give it to somewhere that lots of people could benefit and learn from it. Contact your local schools (pre-school, nursery, primary, secondary, college), community centre or library and see if they could benefit from updated technology. Often we assume these places get funding from the government but many of these places don't have enough funding to keep up with the latest technology trends and this gives that opportunity to help with that.
Tell us about your experience as a mother and STEM advocate
As a mum to two boys under the age of 3, I am finding it fascinating to see them learning about the real world and then the digital world. Their little minds are like sponges. I have been very careful about what they have been exposed to in terms of technology and how they are learning about it. My youngest plays with creative games on my phone using the touch screen. Usually drawing things or kaleidoscope type games. My older one is more into the educational games where he touches the colours or numbers, but to get the most out of the games really does need me with him to support his learning. It is great to see them grow and learn so fast.
As a STEM advocate before having children, I felt that having access to computers and technology was essential for learning and for being competitive in the world of work today. However, I always thought that it was most essential for an older age group from around 7 or so to start using technology and understanding it and how it works. I am starting to realise that even at the age of two or three children start showing curiosity in gears (mechanics), chemistry (science), building things (engineering) and virtual spaces (technology). It has opened my eyes up to what opportunities there could be for this youngest generation in the future.
In my spare time (what little I have of it at the moment) I run a blog called GirlyGeekdom which is mainly about technology, gadgets, STEM and tips for parents. Just things that I have come across that I think are really cool or really useful. I initially started doing it so that I remembered things (for Xmas present ideas or to find quicker easier ways to do things).
What is it like being an INsider and Lenovo advocate?
Being a Lenovo INsider and advocate has been a fascinating journey. It has been amazing having the opportunity to keep up to date with the latest technologies by being invited to events like MWC and IFA. I have met some amazing people creating some of the most unique and innovative hardware on the devices market and got to really understand how they are doing that and what drives them and the technology. I have made new friends and know that if I ever need any help or support the advocates and Lenovo staff are on hand to help wherever possible. I couldn't ask for more.
On a business level, I have also ended up working with Lenovo directly as an application partner on their Lenovo App Explorer which would never have happened without the close ties that I have had with them through their advocate programme. It has brought mutual benefit all round.
For STEM advocates, giving children the tools they need to boost their education is very important. During this holiday period, it’s also just as important to give back to the community in any way you can.
Sarah Lamb is a public speaker, author and STEM advocate. She is also the founder of Girly Geekdom (a website about technology, gadgets, STEM and tips for parents) and Girl Geek Dinner. You can learn more about Sarah at her blog GirlyGeekdom.com or reach out on Twitter @geekylamb. You can also read more about this story on Sarah's blog.
Are you a passionate Lenovo fan? Love sharing with others? Read more about being an advocate in the Lenovo INsiders program.