[Author Prev][Author Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Thread Index]

[Fwd: Re: [school-discuss] New wrinkle on using FOSS and thin client architecture to transition to 1:1 student to PC ratio]

Since my last post with a single .jpg file pic of the cart didn't show up on the list right away, I assume there's a limitation on attachment file size, so I'm posting this response w/o pic. I'll forward the pic to Bill and Bryant separately, and anyone else that wants a pic. Daniel

Bill Barowy wrote:
Yes, as others have written, please share more. I teach a course in computer structures for k-12 teachers, introducing OSS, and examples like this can be very powerful and insightful. I'd like to prepare it as a case study for my students to investigate. Full kudos to you, of course!

Thanks to Bill and Bryant for the kind words.  Pic attached, I'm the one
with the beard and William is the other guy.  No, I haven't written
anything up other than what I posted.  Here's a bit more data on it, let
me know what kinds of info you would all like on it.  Perhaps I should
poll the teachers to have them comment on it's uses, plusses and
minuses?  Send me your queries, I'll do my best to address them.  Bill,
we have a conference phone at our school, would it be helpful if we set
up a call with some of our teachers and your students to talk to them
about how they use it?  Best time for teachers is right after school
ends, 2:45 or so.  I might learn something also, you never know.

Cart size: 4 ft by 2.5 ft (without shelves installed, they store on top
of the cart when being transported.  It has to fit easily in an
elevator, that was a primary design constraint.  Wood construction,
except shelves are metal adjustable shelf brackets with metal wire
shelves (for lower weight) and to be able to adjust shelf height so
Kindergarteners can put the shelves lower for their chair height, and
5th graders can raise the shelves for their height.  I keep a rubber
mallet in the cart to make it easy to pop the shelf brackets off of the
bracket supports, which are screwed into the cart itself.  Security
right now is a plastic coated cable that runs through metal hinges I
superglued to each laptop on the side, not fantastic, but the real
security in our school are the hallway ceiling cams.  There's a single
shelf on which the server, printer, and power switch reside that is
about a foot up from the bottom of the cart.   This shelf has four 3
inch holes in it for cat5 and laptop power cables, is removable, and
underneath it is the 16 port switch with gigabit link to the server, the
laptop power bricks, power strips, and the UPS battery backup.  The
latter is sized so that if the cart is packed up (laptops zip up and are
placed with net and power cables still attached), and the last thing
disconnected is the power to the cart, as long as you move it to the new
location and plug the power in within 30 minutes, the server stays up,
and when you open up the laptops after reinstalling the shelves, they
wake up from sleep mode instantly.

The original intention was that it would be rolled from room to room,
but it turns out several rooms just don't have the space for it, hence
the request to set it up in a wide section of the hallway.  I ran a Cat6
wire through the ceiling and dropped it down to the cart along one wall
where there was a power outlet.

Cost of cart (wood, shelves, network switch, power strips, cabling,
paint, etc.) is about $400, assuming you already have the laptops.  It
took me and one of my family members a weekend to build and paint it.
Since the new idea is to leave it relatively fixed in the hallway, I
don't see why you couldn't do it with LCD monitors and diskless thin
clients, but then again, you can buy refurb Win98 laptops that would
make fine thin clients for $240, just a bit more than an LCD monitor;
this is how we plan to build more units after we use up all of our
current, unused laptops.  By the way, the reason the laptops were so
useless is that someone decided to upgrade the OS on them from Win98 to
WinXP without upgrading the RAM in the laptops.  You can imagine how
slow they became...Linux is the only OS that I know of where you can
upgrade to the most recent software and be able to run it on older
hardware w/o requiring a memory upgrade (at least on the clients, that is).