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

[school-discuss] First the city of Atlanta, next a country!

Fellow Schoolforgers,

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.

Best regards,
Daniel Howard
President and CEO
Georgia Open Source Education Foundation