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Re: [school-discuss] Request for New Intro-Duct-Shuns.
At 03:10 PM 9/19/2005, you wrote:
(Let's not quibble over spelling and/or typos, OK?... (grin))
Agreed, I'm a trilingual bad speller (especially in French).
My name is Daniel Howard, I am an entrepreneur and former associate
director of the Georgia Tech Broadband Telecommunications Center in
Atlanta, Ga. I sold my first startup in 2000, worked for the broadband
communications chip manufacturer that acquired it, and now am working on my
second startup, focusing on development of software that can convert any
children's TV program into an educational interactive experience using
web-powered personal video recorder technology and wikipedia type web content.
But the real reason I'm on the list is that I had been a parent volunteer
at my daughter's elementary school for the last two years and just go so
fed up with beating Win95 and Win98 machines in classrooms into some form
of functionality that I started looking for alternatives. Along with my
partner in crime in this endeavor, William Fragakis (also on this list) we
converted the computer lab to K12LTSP thin clients over the summer using
diskless workstations built from scratch, and have deployed K12LTSP servers
to about a fourth of the classrooms, starting with the higher grades and
moving down hallways. Classrooms that previously had 0-3 working computers
(but slow!) now have one teacher's PC (WinXP, maintained by the school
system), one zippy K12LTSP server and 4-5 zippy clients using both older
school PCs and those donated to the school by local businesses and
families. You should hear how the teachers rave about the change and the
seachange in their attitude about technology in the classroom!
I also started a volunteer program called the eParents made up of computer
savvy parents who can help demonstrate the new K12LTSP software to their
assigned classroom teachers and students and also frequently check on the
status of the PCs in their assigned classroom. As you can imagine,
typically parents are assigned to rooms with their kids in them, so they're
highly motivated to keep the rooms up and running. Not that the
server/thin clients need support, it's typically the Windows PCs that get
issues. We're also training them on the overall software and hardware
setups, so that when someday William and I move on, there will be parents
left at the school who can keep the system up and running. Our long term
model is for the PTA to buy new servers for classrooms every 3-5 years, and
use donated computers from local businesses and homes to replace clients,
until at some point clients get small and cheap enough (a la NIVO) that we
can consider shifting away from donated computers and put small form factor
clients and LCD screens in the classrooms. But this system works great
with older school and donated computers; the problem for the teachers has
gone from "how can I get the computers in my classroom to work" to "where
do I put all these working computers in my classroom."
Kudos to the K12LTSP team for a great distro!