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Re: [K12OSN] Major schools deployments

Christian, et, al
Archie, Veronica and the whole gang say hello. We are alive and well here in Portland at Riverdale High, despite Paul Nelson moving on to larger arenas educating the Educator.

Here's your paragraph (or three): Our deployment of Linux is still in the form of LTSP. Our High School has two computer labs with 30 & 20 seats. We are still using the same thin client boxes that Paul built as a class project many years ago; they are adequate for the need, and have required little to no maintenance over the three years that I've been here. Our K-8 school has one 30-seat LTSP lab using HP Compaq t5125 thin clients.
Each classroom at both schools have 1-3 student thin clients of the same vintage as the labs. The teaching staff at the HS each have the same thin client setup for their desk use, while at the GS the staff has opted for a mixture of Windows and Mac OS. Each school has one Linux server responsible for home folder storage, Samba, web services, and a few other odds and ends. There are an additional four application servers at the HS and two at the GS which support the use of open source applications, such as, OpenOffice, TuxType, TuxPaint, web browsing, etc. We also have a Windows 2003 Terminal Server at each school which gives us Windows access from each of the thin clients via rdesktop. This Windows configuration gives everyone a choice of platform and access to some preferred apps, such as, Typing Instructor, Freehand, and a couple other course specific applications. LDAP is thankfully managed at our regional support district and gives our users seamless access on all platforms.

That's where we are today; here is where you get more than you asked for. As I sit here writing, overlooking the main HS computer lab full of students, it is interesting to note that about 35% have pushed the client keyboard out of the way, so that they have a place to set their personal laptop. This is a growing trend in our district as I notice more and more of our middle-school students bringing laptops to school. By the time they get to high school, they have already developed a mode of operation. I believe that this points more toward the trend in mobile computing than it does a lack of interest in Linux or thin client computing. Many of our more techie high schoolers actually prefer Ubuntu and open source software on their PC laptop, and those with Macs spend a fair amount of time tinkering
in the Terminal. In addition to those student trends, our teaching staff is increasingly making a move toward Macs for their daily use, and we have three mobile Mac labs at the GS which are in constant use. As pressure mounts from parents and staff for change to a "mainstream" environment, I continue the push that a Linux implementation is a viable option for our district. My preaching has been "more is better", and my goal for a student leaving K-8 is to be functional and indifferent when it comes to moving about the Big-3 (Linux, Mac, Windows).

Back to your desire to get more educational usage out of your existing environment. If you want to get beyond the basics, I think you have to find that teacher with a need and a willingness to try some things. Then browse the online resources to find others that have accomplished the task. Once you get one teacher demonstrating that they can be successful, others may follow and thus expand your use of the resources that you have. For example, our 5th grade science teacher has his kids do online research on Biomes, develop web pages
using OpenOffice, and post them to our web server for parents to view at home. This sparked the idea for one of our 4th grade teachers to take her Lewis & Clark unit, and move it from a physical story board to an online storyboard -  all using the resources of our LTSP computer lab. OK, maybe not a great example, but you get the idea.

Wow, that was a lot of rambling. Hope something in there is useful.


Dale Petersen
Technology Director
Riverdale School District 51-J
dpetersen riverdale k12 or us


Christian Einfeldt wrote:

I am aware generally of proposed and existing Linux deployments in schools in Portland (Oregon), Indiana, Kerala (India), Extremadura (Spain), Russia, and Brazil, but I am wondering if anyone can summarize in just a paragraph or so what is going on with those deployments. 

Also, has anyone heard what is going on at the Riverdale High School in Portland, Oregon?  Is Paul Nelson still there?

I would also love to hear a brief paragraph from people about their school deployments.  Do you have LDAP or LTSP networks?  Do you have dedicated computer labs?  Do you just have a few standalone Linux computers in classrooms?

I am a volunteer who is supporting two public schools in San Francisco with Linux.  At one school, we have a 31-seat LDAP Ubuntu lab.  That school also has about 20 standalone machines in classrooms.  Those machines are used for basic Internet browsing; for email; and for using TuxType, KTouch, and TuxMath. 

At another school, there are about 31 standalone machines which perfom similar functions to the machines located in the first school.  Our use of Linux is rather primitive.  We are looking to enhance that usage to get more educational benefit from these machines.

Christian Einfeldt,
Producer, The Digital Tipping Point

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