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Re: [school-discuss] Idea for mobile computer teacher/specialist in enterprise Linux thin client schools

Hi Daniel,

On Mon, 10 Dec 2007, Daniel Howard wrote:

I'm talking to several Atlanta schools now that are expecting the new enterprise thin client system that William and I recommended within the coming months, and one thing that keeps coming up is what happens to the computer lab teacher when there are so many PCs (at least 2:1) in each classroom. Plus, many of these schools are bursting at the seams with enrollment growth, so the computer lab is a likely target for a regular classroom anyway. This is what happened at Brandon, e.g.

IMO, the issue is program delivery. If you have enough computers in a classroom then it _is_ the lab. The key is to have enough computers so everyone has one, no matter where.

One thought I had was the following: suppose the computer teacher went mobile and had on her cart a server that she could use to go into a classroom, quickly connect the thin clients in the room to her server, and voila, she's in command and can run any apps she has on her server, including TeacherTool, etc. Wireless connection from mobile server to Internet would likely be best to prevent the mobile server from handing out IP addresses to other school computers if miswired, and that's one less wire to mess with too. At the end of the session, she reconnects the classroom clients to the main school server (single wire from room switch to data port, e.g.), and the kids reboot and they're back where they started.

Why bother? If the students already have home folders/directories on the school server, that is where they put their work. In this scenario, it would sit on the mobile server. Not a good idea, IMO. Too much work to maintain... say the student has free time and wants to work on it later.... no can do.

I would just enhance the school backbone bandwidth or improve server performance, if that's an issue.

In Summary, the issues revolve around home directories (student save areas) and their userid/password locations. In this environment, one can use a large server for home directories, authentication/logon, and then several separate fast CPU application servers. Depends on how the system is configured.

Les Richardson
Open Admin for Schools

Any thoughts from the group, pro/con? Assume all rooms have the same thin client platform, so a single config with dhcp could be used.


Daniel Howard
President and CEO
Georgia Open Source Education Foundation