[K12OSN] Proposal for Middle School Computer Lab

Rob Owens rob.owens at biochemfluidics.com
Tue Jul 29 18:33:09 UTC 2008

Stephen Crampton wrote:
> Any comments on the following?

> I'd like to tie in my topics with other teachers, especially math and 
> science teachers, so that topics learned in other classes can be 
> explored further in my lab using constructivist learning techniques.
I always thought it would be a cool idea to have the photography 
students go out and photograph animals, then have the programming 
students integrate those pictures into Gcompris (in the mouse-moving 
games where you remove tiles to uncover a picture of an animal).  If you 
could get your changes accepted into the upstream code, you guys would 
be a big hit and you'd certainly have something to brag about in the 
school newsletter.

> Here is a sample server:  Dell PowerEdge™ SC1430  I'm attaching a quote 
> for $3,500 for the server.  I assume that we can get a better price as a 
> public school.  For the quote, I chose a RAID5 controller with three 
> disks.  This speeds up disk access and protects us against disk 
> failure.  If one disk fails, the system still works until we replace the 
> disk.  If we want to stick with a single disk drive, we can save a few 
> hundred dollars.  I also chose the maximum memory of 8 GB for the best 
> performance.  We could save a few hundred dollars by starting with less 
> memory.
Personally I'd rather get all the RAM I could, and save money by using 
software RAID and SATA disks.  But I've never had more than 10 users on 
one of my servers, so there may be problems with that setup that I 
haven't seen yet.

> It's also possible that the school district has a server we could use or 
> that we could get a donated server.
Careful about using too much recycled hardware.  People (especially 
non-technical people) like to see fancy new things.  Start by requesting 
all new hardware, and if price is an issue then talk about donated 
servers and old P2's as thin clients.  You'll be perceived as 
"resourceful" instead of as a cheapskate!

> We need enough tables for all of the computers.  I'd like to cluster the 
> computers into groups of 5-6 students, where each student can see all of 
> his or her group members' screens.

You might want to head-off any concerns about students copying work from 
each other.  It sounds like you intend for this to be used for group 
learning, but some folks might not realize that.


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