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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!