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Remake Learning Event Teaches Students to Build Laptops

A laptop-building seminar for younger Florida students is a highlight of Remake Learning Days, an initiative to bring computer literacy and other learning opportunities in STEM subjects to low-income communities.

A young boy sitting at a desk in front of a window and smiling while working on a laptop.
In Sarasota, Fla., this weekend, five children have a life-changing opportunity to help their families cross the digital divide.

According to a recent news release from the educational support organization Remake Learning, a handful of students between grades three and eight from schools throughout the Suncoast region of southwestern Florida were selected to build their own PC laptop, complete basic coding training and bring those tools home to share with parents and siblings. The same events have been scheduled on different dates in six other U.S. states and parts of Uruguay, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, benefiting households without computers.

The April 29 “#BuildCodeGo!” event is part of the 2023 Suncoast Remake Learning Days initiative, which also includes hands-on workshops in art, outdoor learning, science, technology and leadership communications, according to a news release.

At the national and international levels, Remake Learning is funded by the Grable Foundation, PBS Kids, Common Sense Media and Learning Heroes. Regionally, Remake Learning’s Florida event is also funded by the Patterson Foundation, according to the news release.

The build-your-own laptop program, which benefits low-income households, premiered in Sarasota last year. One of the inaugural participants, Veronica Lyzeth Chaires, has excelled in school ever since, according to her mother, Veronica Gonzalez.

“At the beginning of the event, we were too nervous [because] we just didn’t know what to do. But as the course progressed, my daughter started to take control of the computer,” Gonzalez said in a news release. “She was able to understand how each part of the laptop is positioned to work, and how electricity enters the laptop to charge the battery so that the laptop can work. She followed every step of the course, and we were successful.

“I don’t have to be literally behind her now to make sure she’s getting her assignments done, because she’s succeeding in class. In fact, she’s become so confident in her skills, she’s even comfortable disassembling and reassembling her laptop as needed,” Gonzalez said in the news release, adding that her daughter aspires to become a nurse.

Event organizers say children are not the only ones who benefit from the various workshops and educational opportunities where participants are encouraged to explore, wonder and learn together.

“Events like #BuildCodeGo give families without access to technology a valuable chance to develop their skills and to learn together as a family, which can create opportunities for new discussions and even the discovery of new interests and talents,” Dorie Taylor, a producer for Remake Learning Days festivals, said in a public statement.

The Pittsburgh-based Remake Learning organization was established in 2007. According to its website, the organization’s programs and events, aimed at providing learning opportunities in STEM subjects for students in marginalized communities, spread throughout Pennsylvania and expanded into low-income communities in Wisconsin, Kentucky, West Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, Florida, Uruguay, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.