[K12OSN] New SmartBoard and Edubuntu...I'm truly impressed!

James P. Kinney III jkinney at localnetsolutions.com
Fri Feb 8 13:33:31 UTC 2008

I have yet to see anything done with a smartboard benefiting the
educational process that can't be done more broadly and actively with
Linux thin clients and a collaborative workspace like fl_teachertool.

In my mind, smartboards developed from the business culture of doing
boring presentations that needed to be recorded so the presenter could
justify their inflated paycheck. The board makers have not been able to
sell them into business as well and they hoped once the bean counters
realized the overall uselessness of the technology.

So they branched into education which has a horrid reputation of buying
nearly any techno-jejaw gizmo in an attempt to improve things. At NECC
last year the smartboard makers booths were the biggest, loudest,
gaudiest, most over the top showboat monstrosities in the entire floor.
We have laws to protect children against predators. We need something to
protect educators from these shows! :)

The money spent on a smartboard buys an activity for a single person at
a time while the others sit passively. This is the same failure mode
that was in place with filmstrips, movies and EDU TV. The technology is
changing but the practice is nearly identical. The streaming video junk
from UnitedStreaming is just filmstrips done on a more expensive player
(that school can't keep due to licensing <gag!>). 

For the same cost of a single smartboard, multiple Linux thin clients
can be installed in the classroom. Imagine the learning that can happen
when students can actively participate in doing things instead of being
a passive observer.

Yes, the technology is slick. Yes it is cool to be able to write on a
whiteboard with a special marker and have the computer projector "draw"
it on the board and record it for later viewing. But that passive
process for the others in the room is only barely usable for the adults
that suffer through those types of presentations in the boardroom

I don't like even the whiteboards and their stinky markers that run out
and smell bad and get thrown away. I can _eat_ a stick of chalk if I
have too (Rolaids) and a reusable holder is just fine. Besides, the
S_C_R_E_E_C_H across the board is a useful tool for the snoozer on the
back row :)
On Fri, 2008-02-08 at 00:28 -0500, Vern Ceder wrote:
> The Linux versions we've used have all been Java-based. To make the 
> install self-contained, they even packaged a JVM in the installer 
> package. I'm not sure, but I think the Mac version may be Java as well.
> But like the man says, it the Linux version works well and has all of 
> the functionality of the Windows version.
> Cheers,
> Vern
> Tom Hoffman wrote:
> > On Thu, Feb 7, 2008 at 9:38 PM, David Trask <dtrask at vcsvikings.org> wrote:
> >> Recently I was able to purchase an interactive whiteboard called a
> >>  "SmartBoard" for our school.  I have several more in the budget for next
> >>  year, but this one gives us an opportunity to learn more about how to use
> >>  one.  I was excited to find out when I ordered it that it would be
> >>  compatible with Linux, but I had my doubts.  Often times manufacturers
> >>  make claims to be compatible with Linux, but generally with a loss of
> >>  features or a very difficult installation.  I was a little nervous when I
> >>  stuck in the CD to the drive on my Edubuntu desktop….and I couldn't get
> >>  the installer to execute.  So…I went to the web site and downloaded the
> >>  installer from there.  The installer was a breeze to work with!  It's an
> >>  autopackage that simply asked me a couple yes or no questions…and then
> >>  VOILA!  That was it!  Suddenly the SmartBoard software launched and we
> >>  were in business!  The total install time took less than 2 minutes!  Guess
> >>  what else?  Everything works!  Every feature from the notebook software to
> >>  the screen captures and more!  I'm truly impressed!
> > 
> > Do you know if they're using Wine or is this a native (GTK?) port?
> > 
> > --Tom
> > 
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> -- 
> This time for sure!
>     -Bullwinkle J. Moose
> -----------------------------
> Vern Ceder, Director of Technology
> Canterbury School, 3210 Smith Road, Ft Wayne, IN 46804
> vceder at canterburyschool.org; 260-436-0746; FAX: 260-436-5137
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James P. Kinney III          
CEO & Director of Engineering 
Local Net Solutions,LLC        

GPG ID: 829C6CA7 James P. Kinney III (M.S. Physics)
<jkinney at localnetsolutions.com>
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