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Re: [school-discuss] Using Manhattan Server

On Mon,  9 Feb 2004 10:59:33 -0500 (EST)
"David M. Bucknell" <david@rose-marie.ac.th> wrote:

> Manhattan and Mimerdesk are tools with completely different starting 
> points, a "virtual classroom" (Manhattan) and an extranet. Mimerdesk's 
> developers have great interest in adding in courseware, especially that 
> which is constructivist in philosophy. However, it's an add-in. 
> Eventually, Manhattan could be one of those add-ins. Now, Manhattan's 
> developer has long been interested in adding in a centralized login and 
> he's recently done so. Both tools are great, but they are not
> competitors.

Can Manhattan and MimerDesk be contrasted with this statement? --
Manhattan is better suited to situations where class activities will take
place predominantly on-line (virtual school, distance learning or
e-school), while MimerDesk is better at supporting and enhancing physical

Having used MimerDesk a lot (but not in an educational setting!) it seems
to me that the groups, forums, and file sharing -- combined with
traditional Internet mail -- are in fact flexible enough to be used to
conduct virtual classes. I will go so far as to argue that the lack of
traditional organization ("Assignments," "Lectures," "Handouts," etc.)
allow teachers the opportunity to create new and more meaningful designs.
This feature should be valuable to teachers working with gifted/talented

One thing I would not like to see is students being required to use both.
Different systems, different accounts, different interface, confusion
about which forum to post to, where the homework is (one teacher puts it
in Manhattan, another in MimerDesk). We have that problem at work -- too
many portals, non able to do it all.

In my concept for Open Slate I envision a "wired" classroom --
physical, networked, but actually wireless. Every student has their own
slate, which they carry with them from class to class. Critical to this
design is an application I call the Super Whiteboard. It provides an
audio-visual channel between the teacher and each individual student. Too
much to go into here, but if anyone would like to pursue this idea please
drop me a line.

In closing, I must congratulate those of you who have implemented
open-source solutions in schools. I am not an educator (I work for the
federal government as an SA) but I have pitched my concepts to educators
and find them to be overwhelmingly resistant to change, far more than my
customers. I think my biggest failing is that I pitch technology for its
own sake, confident that it will benefit the students without quantifying
how. Again, for those of you who have done it, my hat's off to you!


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