[K12OSN] Life after LTSP

Robert Arkiletian robark at gmail.com
Thu Nov 11 19:24:49 UTC 2010

Sorry to those of you who are on the Edubuntu list but I'm
copy/pasting a message from that list to this one as I think it's an
interesting topic.

On Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 6:30 AM, Jonathan Carter (highvoltage)
<jonathan at ubuntu.com> wrote:
> Either way, cheap devices are certainly going to change things
> eventually. Everyone's walking with more and more powerful computers in
> their pockets. All that they might need is a bigger keyboard and screen
> to connect to in their classrooms.
> I think it will cause a whole bunch of new challenges for schools and
> software companies. How are commercial educational products going to be
> licensed? Per school? Will students have to buy it theirselves? How will
> software be managed and deployed? I know that I certainly wouldn't want
> to give my school (if I had one) root access to my device to do stuff on
> it without me knowing about it. My guess is that in a few years from
> now, students will do most of their work on web enabled devices that
> connect to their school's web services. I'm probably stating the obvious
> with that, since it's already happening in many schools, but even then I
> think there'll be some use for some desktops running in a diskless
> environment.

Hi Jonathan,

I think you hit the nail on the head. Things are changing. I've been
a high school teacher for 14 years. Recently, I've been seeing more
and more students coming to school with their own laptops. This
transition to students having their own mobile devices has already
happened in colleges/universities.

Currently, the big push at the secondary level is getting wireless
access to the entire school. Focus is slowly shifting away from
traditional computer lab infrastructure to one where kids bring their
own mobile device (or maybe the school provides one). It brings up the
question: what about kids that can't afford their own laptops? Also,
who manages these systems? They don't belong to the school. We can't
touch them. About the only thing we can do is have a terms of use
agreement pop up when they connect and ask them to agree (maybe
register their name with their mac address) but that's about it.

Right now if an english teacher wants his/her students to access the
web they need to book a computer lab to use for that period. I don't
think that's going to be the case in the future.  I remember when no
students had cell phones, now almost all do.

This also brings up the possibility of introducing ebooks. Publishers
of textbooks are already seeing this demand from post secondary
institutions. No more giant backpacks full of textbooks.  In addition,
imagine instead of photocopying a handout for all students a teacher
just posts the handout to a website which all students access
instantly. Photocopying costs at my school are huge.

Robert Arkiletian
Eric Hamber Secondary, Vancouver, Canada

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