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Re: [school-discuss] Computers in all senior schools - Australia

Have the education minister talk to Mike Huffman, the CIO of Indiana State Dept. of Education. He decided to put standalone Linux desktops for each student with a goal of 1:1 classrooms. Here's a link describing his initiative and with his contact info:


Note the discussion on the Q and A page about needing to upgrade electricity and networking to support the 1:1 goal. We discovered this at Brandon in our 1:1 fifth grade rooms: using thin clients cable-tied to the side of desks and LCD monitors velcro'ed to the top of the deak kept us from having to upgrade the electrical infrastructure, and also allowed us to put the LCD monitors on each desk. Problem we ran into was the teachers said the LCD monitors on the top of the desks hindered collaboration, so we put the computer tables back in the rooms for collaborative project work like art and science, but that really cramps the space. If you look at the pic on the above site, you can see the new desks he specified for students which solves the space problem.

From our experience at Brandon, I think a combination of the thin client model using classroom servers and the standalone desktop model makes the most sense for a high school. For classes like english, history, etc., the thin clients would be fine and the cheapest and most reliable to implement, whereas for science and math, as well as art and music the stand alone boxes would likely be needed for CPU power. All could run the same Linux OS for uniformity. But the space and electricity issues are paramount to consider up front for 1:1 classrooms. If it's to be a country wide initiative, I bet you could design a new desk for LCD monitors and small form factor PCs/thin clients that would be even smaller than the ones Mike used for Indiana, but I also would say that CRT monitors last longer than LCDs, even though they use more electricity and take up more space, so there must be a reason Mike chose them over LCDs.

On www.morrisbrandon.com website under Brandon Technology, you can find presentations I put together, you're welcome to use any/all info for your cause.

One final point. Even after we set up classrooms as 1:1 we discovered the that students in elementary school only used the PCs for a few hours a day. Based on that, and given the space issues, another solution for providing 1:1 access to students on a daily basis is to have a 2:1 ratio in the classrooms with another 1/2 class worth of PCs on tables in the hallway that is shared by only a handful of classes. This is what we have in 1-4th grades at Brandon and it works remarkably well. But with high school, I could see the need for 1:1 in most classrooms since it's the same or similar subject all day long in each room.

Best, Daniel

rodryan wrote:
Gday folks
Here in Australia our new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd has promised a computer for each desk for senior students year 9 - 12. I think the best way to go is with Linux and open source software. Have you any suggestions (political, presentation, hardware, software) on the way to go.
Rod Ryan

Daniel Howard
President and CEO
Georgia Open Source Education Foundation