[K12OSN] OT : Ideas for K12LTSP usage?

Steve Hargadon steve.hargadon at gmail.com
Mon Jun 13 17:13:14 UTC 2005

On 6/13/05, dahopkins at comcast.net <dahopkins at comcast.net> wrote:
> > On Sun, 2005-06-12 at 10:18 -0400, Dave Hopkins wrote:
> > > I have a curious request.  The director of the school where I
> > > volunteer
> > > has asked me what innovative ways are out there to use K12LTSP in
> > > place
> > > of more traditional approaches to IT beyond the simple use of thin
> > > clients in classrooms.

Thought train (over generalized, of course):

1.  Teachers can only teach what they know and are familiar with
2.  MS/Windows on the desktop has led toward teachers being trained in
application software:  office productivity, graphics, etc.  This is
partly due to lack of detailed programming knowlege, partly because
actual code is proprietary.
3.  The teachers teach this application software to their students
4.  Students learn application software, or clerical skills
5.  Schools spend about $2500/year/computer (TCO with hardware and
licensing)  to teach students clerical skills

Seems like K12/LTSP allows for something new.  I know this is not a
"technology innvation," but bear with me.

1.  LTSP is based on Open Source software
2.  Given training and help from the Open Source community, teachers
could teach programming concepts and be able to work with the actual
3.  Students could actually work on Open Source projects, participate
in a larger community of programmers, and help solve actual problems
4.  Schools would spend about $200/year/computer to be able to impart

I've actually got a project that really needs to be done, that I think
a group of students could work on and make a reality.  The used
computer industry in this country is floundering.  80% of used
computers, we believe, get put in containers and shipped overseas. 
This is because, in part, Microsoft has made it almost impossible to
transfer a Windows license, and the cost of a new license is usually
more than the value of the computer.

However, Microsoft has a program where non-profit computer
refurbishers can get a new license for $5 for computers being given to
schools or non-profit groups.  So only non-profit groups can solve
this environmental/recycling issue.  But the non-profit groups are
mostly labors of love that started in someone's garage, and have
limited capabilities.  In particular, an inventory/tracking system for
non-profit refurbishers would make a huge difference--both in their
ability to process used computers at a reasonable cost, and their
ability to guarantee donors that they can report on where the
equipment ultimately ends up.  Trying to take an existing commercial
inventory package to do this will face the hurdles of the commercial
licensing and prohibitive costs.  But a php/mysql, web-based system
could probably be built over time that could have a huge impact on
computer recycling in this country.

Anyway, I got carried away.  Original thought:  innovation may not be
in technological demonstration, but in teaching methods...


Steve Hargadon
916-899-1400 direct

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