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Re: [school-discuss] back on the list again - looking for ideas

Hi Marilyn,

Glad you're back! This summer my 14 year old daughter and I are working through the book "Introducing Character Animation with Blender" by Tony Mullen. Comes with a CD with example characters and walks you through the whole process. I'm sure Blender is included in some of the live CDs out there for Linux, but the question for Blender, and for multimedia stuff in general is speed of operation. Since the principal is OK with Linux, you could ask your administrator to allow you to install the software on a separate partition so you could boot the PCs as either Linux or Windows. That would probably improve Blender and multimedia apps performance considerably, and would not affect the Windows operation of the PCs.


marilyn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
Hi there everyone!

I'm back on the list again (Marilyn from Texas). I let my former domain,
linuxined.org, go last April and just signed up for schoolforge-discuss about a
week ago.  It has been fun to read your discussions about bringing technology
remote areas.  Wow.

This summer I got a new teaching job that will be closer to home (yay!).  I
be teaching high school tech apps (animation, desktop publishing, multimedia,
web development) in Mexia, TX.  I have been teaching elementary music for a
couple of years after trying to sell tech stuff in '04.  From '02 to '04 I was
teaching HS animation.  I don't know if you remember me, but I've been using
Linux in the classroom since '97.  Yeah . . . that chick!

So . . . once again I humbly come to the Linux gurus to get your ideas about my
idea.  You probably don't realize how much I have depended on your wisdom and
others on the net. (thank you)  :)

Roughly, I think I want to implement a system where I only use bootable media -
probably CDs - and use hard drives only for storage.  I might use the network
for storage as well and maybe that walmart 2 gig usb storage thingie jobber.


For the past two years I have been teaching music in an intermediate school
& 6th grades).  My school district was a windows shop.  Both years I took my
music classes to the campus computer lab once a week.  The first year I used
the windows stuff already there and did online activities using various
elementary music websites.  Also, I created my own web pages with links to
these sites, instructions, forms for quizzes and tests, etc.  Using my own
website worked pretty well, but depending on the other sites was a drag. Sometimes they were up, sometimes they were down, and sometimes our district
network was slow or down.  Overall it sucked.  During that first year, however,
I discovered Musix.

The second year I got permission from our systems administrator to change the
boot sequence on the computers in the lab to look at the CD before the HD.  I
burned 32 Musix CDs and was in business. Musix is a live CD based on Knoppix. It boots up as a music studio, reading the sound card info well, automatically
setting up audio and midi.  We used Solfege for learning rhythm patterns, and
then the Hydrogen Drum Machine to compose our own rhythms.  I worked really
really well.  We didn't save work until the end of the twelve week session, but
then saved to a network folder.  In the classroom I played back the
and we voted for our favorites.  Also . . . our school district used a proxy
server and I didn't give the students those settings . . . so no one was on the
Internet.  It was great to not have to worry about that mischief!

I think I might have suggested this last fall to you guys, but after a full
of successful implementation, I really think there are some great advantages to
using a bootable OS.

#1  You don't have to install anything.
#2  You don't have to worry about the kids installing anything (actually true
just using Linux)
#3  You don't have to worry about the kids messing up the OS (windows was
frequently hosed on computers in the lab, but Musix always worked!)
#4  You don't have to worry about your network being slow

To really be successful in education, you need to leave mischief-making
off the bootable CDs . . . you know, network administrator type stuff.  Also,
the CDs should be setup to automatically look for all of your storage areas =
network folders, HD directories, USB storage, exterior writable CD drives,
whatever.  And, the CDs should have drivers and easily access cameras, drawing
pads, scanners, midi keyboards, etc.

This is how I envision it.  My kids come in for computer animation class.  They
pick up a CD/DVD that has all software and drivers related to that activity. Hmmm . . . actually in thinking about it . . . there could probably be a CD/DVD
that covers all of my classes . . . music compostition, animation, desktop
publishing, web development, video/audio editing.  Of course they can have
their own CD/DVDs to take home too.  These bootable DVDs have ALL of the
related OSS programs available for these areas.  And, you can create these DVDs
to have the lessons included and links to appropriate websites included and
maybe some websites already blocked?

I think there should be bootable CDs for science, math, writing - with
everything available on each subject.

Probably the reason I am most interested is that MIDI is such a pain to
configure on Linux for me. It was great to use Musix and have it working. Also, I don't know my new district will let me install anything I want yet. The principal said he didn't care if I used Linux or not and he really liked that it was free.
OK . . . gotta go and send this quick.  Thoughts??


Daniel Howard
President and CEO
Georgia Open Source Education Foundation