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Marygrove College’s Institute for Arts Infused Education (IAIE), has been trying to get computers into classrooms for a long time because the college believes it’s critical for children to receive a solid education using the arts and modern technology. Now, thanks to the federal program, Computers for Learning (CFL) and several corporate partners, their vision has become a reality.

The CFL program was founded by the federal government to support their mandate for a computer in every K-12 classroom nationwide so that every child has the chance to learn how to use modern technology. Marygrove College’s Institute for Arts Infused Education aims to improve educational achievement, create innovative models for teaching and learning, and promote the systemic integration of the arts into the K-12 core curriculum.

“At Marygrove, we feel that the arts are tools that can be used to teach many subjects to students of all ages,” said Mary Lou Greene, Director of Marygrove’s IAIE and the driver behind Marygrove’s involvement with CFL. The IAIE places artists in classrooms to help teachers give lessons which incorporate the arts into core subjects, like math and science. It also hosts various training opportunities for teachers and artists through workshops and mentorships including programs on art and technology.

Since Greene started working with CFL about a year ago, Marygrove has sent thirty computers directly to five Detroit schools and another 75 computers will be donated before year’s end. The computers amount to over $130,000 in value.

All of the donated computers are laptops and come from a variety of sources, including the Department of Homeland Security and the General Services Administration, as well as private companies. These “recycled” laptops, stripped of their data, are obtained either by having them shipped or by driving to the source location in Chicago. When the computers arrive at Marygrove, Greene and her team add an operating system and various types of free software such as music editing programs, paint and graphic programs, and other more basic software. The idea is for teachers to utilize them for student projects like creating computerized poetry books or for composing music around a social studies topic.

Greene is constantly checking for new free software programs so that laptops are up-to-date for students and their teachers. She tries to be a resource for teachers to return to if they need assistance.

“Marygrove is committed to being an education resource for the community,” says Greene. “I hope the students who benefit from these computers will be better prepared, more confident adults and that most, if not all, will go on to college.”