Fund the Viking Voyage fundraiser brings new technology to Northwest


Four new laptops await use in Northwest’s library. The laptops were purchased using funds from the Fund the Viking Voyage fundraiser, and the laptops are already making an impact in the classroom.

Four new laptops. Four new document cameras. Two new data projectors. Serviced microscopes and new lab quests. The Northwest PTSO is back at it again.

The Northwest PTSO has completed the first phase of its most recent fundraiser, Fund the Viking Voyage, to raise money to meet some of Northwest’s growing technological needs.

“The first phase of the fundraiser is done, and that is the phase that we had directed towards the families that are currently enrolled at Northwest,” PTSO President Kelly Parsons said. “We were hoping to get the ball rolling here within our school community first. As a result of that, what we brought in was $15,500. We’ve spent roughly half of that at this point, taking care of the equipment that has been purchased already. Now, were moving into the next phase of the fundraiser where we’re going to go out into the business community and try and find area businesses that are friendly to northwest who would like to help further support some of the other needs we have. Really the goal is to get the most value and use out of the money that we’ve raised to this date, in doing that I’m working with the administration and Mrs. Strange to address the needs.”

The equipment Parsons speaks of include four laptops, four document cameras, two data projectors and some new lab quests. And these additions are already making big impacts around Northwest.

“For the students, [the new laptops] hopefully mean that if they have a large class that’s using the computer lab, they can come into the library to get a laptop and continue to work with their class in the same lab and have a computer,” media specialist Natalie Strange said. “I think it’s gonna allow them to do those projects and work with their teachers instead of having to leave that space and go work in the library and work away from the class or share a computer where you can’t get as much of the work done.”

The computer labs at Northwest currently have a capacity of 30 students, while many classes exceed that number.

“We’d like to buy two more [laptops], and I think we will be able to do that just from what we have left,” Parsons said. “That will allow 36 students to use the computer lab. Teachers are extremely happy about having more laptops available because they can do more with their classrooms in the computer labs.”

The teachers and students at Northwest are benefitting from the new technology.

“For the teachers, the two data projectors that we got are already in use in the classroom,” Strange said. “Our data projectors are starting to age out and for some of them we can no longer buy replacements, so we were very lucky that the PTSO could bring some more in. The extra document cameras allowed us to replace one that was broken and to place a few more out into classrooms that didn’t have them before.”

The science department at Northwest has seen the most out of the fundraiser.

“We took an opportunity with this to really address the technology needs in the science department,” Parsons said. “It has been a few years since anything had been done there. Across all the sciences, they utilize a lot of the same handheld technology, and for a lot of it the batteries can no longer be charged. We just purchased some new lab quests because there are old ones that are no longer supported by the county and because they’re not working well, there’s nothing more anybody in the school could do to fix them, and the county couldn’t fix them, so we just had to replace them. We paid for having all the microscopes serviced. There were quite a few microscopes that needed serious overhaul, so they weren’t even able to be used. Mrs. Hamilton estimated that it was about 60 microscopes that were serviced and repaired, and that hadn’t been done in over five years.”

Although the fundraiser has been successful, needs still prevail around the school.

“As a result of the fundraiser, we were only able to replace some of what was needed, not all of what was needed,” Parsons said. “We are happy that this is a start in the right direction. They also need some additional laptops to complete the class set for use in all the sciences, so were going to try to be working towards that. The math department has requested additional calculators and we’ve had some requests for some additional document cameras and projectors, and I think we’ll be able to fill those needs with what we have.”

As a media specialist, Strange is very aware of the technological needs around Northwest.

“We haven’t had the budget to be able to spend to be able to spend on technology to keep up with changing technology and changing pedagogy for teachers,” Strange said. “So I think any money that we can put into technology to help get out classes more into the now would be helpful.”

Strange sees the lack of technology as a hindrance at times.

“It’s disappointing to walk around where we have such great teachers and they’re using equipment where in order to see something on the projector you may have to have all the lights out, and that might now be ideal for note taking,” Strange said. “Or teachers who want to be more mobile in their rooms with teaching but they don’t have a device that allows them to control their projector from more than one location and they get placed by a desk or ones that are trying to incorporate more active learning scenarios and they don’t have the technology to support that.”

Strange remains enthusiastic.

“There’s so many great ideas out there with our teachers so we just hope to be able to purchase and maintain enough technology to support that,” Strange said.

Parsons agrees, expressing her appreciation for all that the Northwest community has done for the fundraiser

“We were excited about what we were able to bring in just from the families at northwest and very appreciative of what was given so generously, because it really has helped address the minimum needs we have,” Parsons said. “I’m extremely encouraged and enthusiastic from the support that we’ve seen from the Viking nation. I think we’ll be able to do some really good things with the remaining money, and I’m hopeful we will raise a bit more to do even more good things.”