[Techtalk] improving computer usage in schools

Diggy Bell diggy at dbsoftdev.com
Wed Feb 12 23:34:08 EST 2003


I've been doing some work with education applications and have come across a
couple of very interesting uses for Linux in the school environment.

First, there are two projects that you may want to look at:

1. http://www.schoolforge.net

This looks to be an information resource for schools using Linux tools.

2. http://www.ltsp.org

This is a Linux terminal server configuration that can use 486 and higher
machines as X terminals into a server.

In particular, LTSP is something that schools could really benefit from.
Schools rarely have the latest hardware, but they frequently have the
opportunity to obtain equipment that is being phased out of businesses.  In
the M$ world, the slower pentium and 486 computers are essentially useless
to the schools.  But with LTSP, a school can quickly increase the number of
available workstations without a large expenditure for hardware or software

With LTSP in place, a few faster machines can be configured as servers.  In
some cases, it may make sense to have the servers dedicated per class room
or academic department.  If there is adequate hardware available, it would
even be possible to setup networked home directories.  Users would
effortlessly have an office suite, email and browser.

What are the benefits to the school?

I. Significant increase in available workstations.
II. A manageable environment for student accounts.
III. Reduced administrative cost for software updates.
IV. Reduced risk from virii and worms.
V. Reduced software licensing.
VI. Reduced hardware costs.
VII. Fully leverage donated equipment.


If you put on a marketing hat for a minute (sorry...I'm an engineer, but I
try :P ), exposing kids to Linux will have a long term impact on its growth
in other areas.  The primary reason many companies have spent millions of
dollars on M$ software is that people know it.  In five years, today's 9th
grade student will be in the workforce.  If they're already comfortable
Linux, it will make it that much easier to Linux to move farther into other


Just a little food for thought...

William D. 'Diggy' Bell
DB Software Development

----- Original Message -----
From: "Lea de Groot" <lea.linuxchix.org at viking.org.au>
To: "TechTalk -- LinuxChix" <techtalk at linuxchix.org>
Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2003 3:38 PM
Subject: [Techtalk] improving computer usage in schools

We had an info session at my kids school last night on what they are doing
this year, and I stuck my hand up to ask what they are using that shiny new
computer lab for.
Well, the lovely teacher tells me, she's hoping to get the kids on the
internet, and they have some nice spelling and maths programs.
I'm thinking they can do a lot better than that in teaching kids to really
their computers.
My initial thoughts were:
- the school could deploy a wiki, and let the kids loose on it to see what
they build
- the kids could each have an email address, but restrict it so that they
only get internal mail (the kids are from 5 - ~ 11)

I got into this, and I decided the best thing to do was to write a paper on
just what they could do, how it would be deployed and what benefits it would
get them.
I was wondering who here has experience in making this sort of proposal to
their kid's school, and if anyone can think up anything else that would be
fun and useful in using their resources?

The really downside is I'm pretty sure they are only running windows, but I
figure one battle at a time...


Techtalk mailing list
Techtalk at linuxchix.org

More information about the Techtalk mailing list