New Zealand Educational Software
| Students in a text processing class at Rutherford College, using networked refurbished CANZ computers. |
Computers are now a vital part of our children's learning and a basic tool for most community organisations. Today it goes without saying that information and communications technology (ICT) is New Zealanders' ticket to the 21st Century.
It’s one thing to understand all this, but quite another to give all groups in our society access to the ICT revolution. Prices for new computers – even entry level models – can be a barrier for cash-strapped schools and not-for-profit community organisations.
To help solve the problem, the Computer Access New Zealand Trust (CANZ) was set up in 1999. It was an initiative of the 2020 Communications Trust, supported by the Ministry of Education.
Accredited refurbishers sell used equipment donated by commercial and government organisations, usually about three years from brand new. This equipment, all quality ‘name’ brands, is refurbished, upgraded as necessary and sold with a warranty and after-sales service. Prices are considerably lower than for new computers. Schools which have bought CANZ machines in the past have consistently found them reliable and good for several years more service. When CANZ computers finally reach the end of their useful life, refurbishers take them back for environmental recycling.
For many schools, a mix of new and refurbished computers can be a sensible approach. CANZ computers are less expensive than new models, yet they are network and Internet capable and handle almost all software used in schools today. (Some high-level graphics and video applications work better on new equipment.) Click here to read case studies of schools using CANZ refurbished computers.
As well as being available for schools and community groups, CANZ refurbished machines are being used for the Computers in Homes project, which is reducing the digital divide problem in low income New Zealand communities by supplying families with computers, internet connections and training.
Not all older computers can be refurbished for continued use, and New Zealand has poor facilities for environmentally acceptable end-of-life disposal. Since 2005, CANZ has worked closely with the Ministry for the Environment and other stakeholders to help develop solutions to this problem. In 2005 and 2006 we published reports and recommendations, and in 2006 we partnered with Dell Computer to run New Zealand's first free pickup day for old computer gear. (Information and photos from this event are here. We were also the main driver behind the 2007 national eDay and we're working toward a similar event in 2008.
A table showing the environmental impacts of materials used in computer production is here.)
Last modified: 28/3/08
Click here to read about the donor programme.
• CANZ has been helping develop national e-waste policy. In July 2006 we published a major government-funded action report. Click here to download a PDF version.