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[school-discuss] First the city of Atlanta, next a country!
A quick update on Atlanta public schools and a new project I'm starting.
First, Atlanta schools had a pilot of K12LTSP in 7 schools this past
year. With the exception of one school (where the principal wasn't
enthusiastic about the pilot and didn't really motivate the teachers to
use the new system) every other school saw significant academic
performance improvement on a statewide test relative to their peer
schools. I now hear that APS is planning to roll the system out
district-wide, and many other US schools are contacting them to find out
how they did it and what they need to have to do likewise. A few people
can make a difference.
Second, one of my teachers did some missionary work in Malawi (southern
Africa) a while back, and just got back from revisiting there, and was
lamenting to me about how villages in this very poor country had no idea
about the outside world. For more detail, check out her classroom blog
page at http://hultquistthirdgrade.blogspot.com/ Many of these
villages have no electricity.
I did some googling, and found schools in India that used solar arrays
to power a handful of PCs and I started thinking: why not use a solar
array to power a satellite Internet receiver, a K12LTSP or Edubuntu LTSP
server, and a handful of thin clients and LCD monitors (to keep
electricity requirements low). Such satellite Internet service is
available here in US, Europe, South Africa, Northern Africa, and heck,
maybe even a spot beam that covers Malawi. Jim Kinney, the Linux
architect that did the APS enterprise K12LTSP version for APS, suggested
a server that boots and runs off of Flash memory to eliminate the hard
disk electricity consumption, and the kids could do all file storage on
the web (word processing, spreadsheet, etc.)
What do you guys think of this idea? Has it been done anywhere else
with lessons learned? My teacher says the biggest thing these kids in
these villages could have is to see and interact with the rest of the
world. I can't help but think this is technically feasible and for a
fairly modest amount, could invoke a seachange in how these villages
educate their kids.
Comments, criticisms, even cheap shots, welcome.
President and CEO
Georgia Open Source Education Foundation