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Re: [school-discuss] Homeschooling & FLOS

Couldn't have said it better myself Peter! In fact, I pointed out recently to both Atlanta Public Schools as well as Dekalb County Schools (who just started their first K12LTSP deployment, I briefed them about a year ago) that the cost reductions and performance enhancement in dual core desktops has flipped the classroom server vs. enterprise server cost models. Two years ago when I recommended an enterprise (schoolwide) server model to APS, a server for 100 clients was about $6000, while a classroom server was about $1500. That led to a server only cost for a 40 classroom school for a 2:1 student to PC ratio of about $60k for classroom servers and only $24k for enterprise servers. Even if the schools had to be rewired for Cat6 (frequently the case), you could do enterprise servers and rewire for less than classroom servers, and rewiring was a good thing anyway. Note that you need the same switches, etc. in each classroom either way.

Nowadays, a classroom server is less than $400 as Peter points out, so for the same 40 classroom school, the server cost is now only $16k, and you don't have to rewire the school for classroom servers. More importantly, I would expect classroom servers to continue to drop faster in price than enterprise servers, so in 3-5 years when it's time to replace the servers, it will cost even less.

And then there's all the other benefits of classroom servers with which I've already bored this group (teacher control/customization, ease of installation, etc.).


Peter Scheie wrote:
I've been thinking the same thing for the past year or so, that adoption of FOSS and LTSP, as you've done in Atlanta, Daniel, would be more possible in charter schools. Charter schools tend to be newer/more recent, and so are less likely to entrenched in their implementation of tech, e.g., they've already 'standardized' on Macintosh, etc. They are also likely to have smaller budgets, something that plays well to FOSS's strengths. Because they are newer, they may be able to arrange for larger physical classrooms.

I notice that my local MicroCenter now sells a dual-core PC with 2GB of RAM for $350; adding in $100 for a switch and $50 for ethernet cables; and using K12LTSP and donated machines for thin clients; and for $500--the cost of a single PC, less than the cost of a single Mac--one could provide a 1:1 student-to-computer ratio in every classroom. Computing becomes so ubiquitous that it is no longer necessary to ration it via the old 'schedule an hour in the computer lab once per week' model.


Daniel Howard wrote:
Um, OK that was a dream...a cyber charter school is just an online school that supports home schooling and/or flexible schedules for say atheletes, not a school that uses the charter approach to divorce themselves from district management/oversight, and in the case dreamed about, from district IT management/oversight.

What we need is the concept of a Charter school that applies primarily to IT, but maybe you have to do the whole Charter thing to have that.

I think I will take this as encouragement to contact any charter schools in Ga just to see if they can more easily do IT things like Opensource that break from district/county IT management.


Daniel Howard wrote:
Cyber charter schools? This sounds interesting...Can you or anyone else elaborate? If there's a precedent for a school to become independent of their district IT department without having to go through all of the paperwork for curricular charter status, that would be of great interest to this group, I suspect. Daniel

Mark Rauterkus wrote:

I think that the questions about homeschooling are important.

Likewise, it might be most productive to ask many of the same questions about "charter schools." There are many 'cyber charter schools' that have budgets and the capacity for hiring programmers, teachers, and rely upon computers that are given to the students / families.


Mark Rauterkus Mark@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:Mark@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Daniel Howard
President and CEO
Georgia Open Source Education Foundation