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

On Thu, 2007-11-29 at 19:04 +1100, 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.
> tia
> Rod Ryan

WooHoo! Technology to the students!

Personal background to justify my comments: I am trained as a physicist,
have taught college physics and astronomy for nearly a decade, have done
technology administration/design/support for small to large businesses
for nearly a decade and I am the architect behind the Atlanta Public
Schools Linux thin client pilot project (33 server, 2200 linux thin
clients, 4400 students, 7 schools, 1 huge success).

I can not emphasize enough how important it is to not get laptops.


They are the most expensive computing platform available in terms of
initial purchase, ongoing maintenance, replacement parts and their basic
fragility makes them totally unsuited for use in a high impact
environment like the area surrounding a typical high school teenager.

Since the plan is to do a one-to-one roll-out and support costs will
likely be the driving factors in component use and software. Unless
Dell/HP/etc drastically slash hardware prices and Microsoft jumps
onboard and offer their products basically for no cost for the next 10
years with free copies for all students and teachers to take home as
well, Linux thin clients are the most affordable solution. The clients
are all solid state, no moving parts, low electrical power, minimal
cooling requirements and the servers carry all the load. Since the
servers are standard components (at least the ones I design and
install), parts are nearly commodity items and thus available and
affordable. The support costs are minimal as in our typical design,
there are only two servers that even have hard drives (OK, so they
typically 8 hard drives) and they are redundant mirrors of each other.
All of the servers that drive the thin clients are identical and only
require replacing a fan when it fails. 

The beauty of all of this every student (and teacher) can get to their
stuff from anywhere in the school, it's always running and the
integration of heavy data access in the classroom happens almost
magically. Once the teachers acclimate to always having working
computers, they adapt the curriculum pretty quickly to do many projects
that involve research and critical thinking - just the skills education
is supposed to foster. It's a win-win-win-win situation

If I can be of assistance in this, please let me know. 
James P. Kinney III          
CEO & Director of Engineering 
Local Net Solutions,LLC        

GPG ID: 829C6CA7 James P. Kinney III (M.S. Physics)
Fingerprint = 3C9E 6366 54FC A3FE BA4D 0659 6190 ADC3 829C 6CA7

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