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Re: RE: [K12OSN] Application Help (off topic)

Well put Jesse, but on the same note...why would anyone "need" Windows,
Mac OS, or Linux?  Granted, if the app that you "need" to use is only
ported to a particular platform then that would be a driving factor.  I am
a TC and I do have students in mind.  Most of us have ALL students in
mind....not just the ones who like to use computers.  For me it's a
question of access.  I'd much rather put 50 computers with 15" monitors in
a school as opposed to 30 computers with 17" monitors in a school.  More
computers equals more access.  It makes me cringe when I walk into some
local schools and see how much they spent for an individual system and yet
they don't have enough to seat an entire class...menaing that some kids
have to double up or take turns.  I know because I've been there.  When I
first arrived here I had only 14 computers in my lab and an average class
size of 18-20 kids.  I now have 21 computers in my lab...now I can seat
them all...and that has made all the difference.  Now I'm faced with
access in the classrooms.  The State of Maine has just recently embarked
on an ambitious project where we're providing an Apple iBook (hey...they
won the bid...because they were the only company to provide an actual
laptop as opposed to a WinCE device)  to all 7th and 8th grade students in
Maine beginning this fall.  We've installed wireless networks in all their
classrooms and the first phase in the test schools is already well
underway.  The idea?  One to one access for all students...no more trying
to schedule the computer lab....every classroom becomes a computer lab. 
(to dispell some myths...the laptops remain the property of the State of
Maine...the kids can take them home after Mom and Dad have completed 3
hours of training...free filtered Internet access will be provided for
those kids who do not currently have an ISP...the intent is to bridge the
digital divide...the machines are locked down at the firmware level so
erasing them is next to impossible making theft an unprofitable act...the
machines are locked so students only have access to the things they
"need"...blah, blah, blah...I must admit OS X makes all this possible) 
Anyway, that takes care of the 7th and 8th graders, but now I have to
contend with the rest of the "one computer" classrooms.  So?  Now I have a
cost effective option that doesn't involve M$ licensing issues.  I can put
Linux terminals in every classroom thus increasing the one computer
classroom to a bunch of mini-labs in each classroom.  What happens then? 
More access!  What many folks (incuding students) don't realize is that
money doesn't grow on trees.  It comes out of the pockets of property
owners like myself.  What M$ seems to be forgetting is that we're ALWAYS
short of cash because we are at the mercy of the public not driven by
profits and so forth like the business world.  It's my job to maximize
that investment as much as possible.  Sure...I keep the students in
mind...hey...they're my "customers", but I also need to keep the "Big
Picture" in mind as well.  As for the teachers and administrators getting
better monitors...remember this.  You go to computer class...however many
times per week.  They in turn use their computers many hours per day as
part of their JOB.  As a student you're just passing through...4 years of
high school and your on to bigger and better things...whereas the teacher
is still there working at the same desk on the same computer.  On another
note...the whole Windows is what I need to prepare for the outside world
is simply crap.  If you are a computer science major in college studying
for the MSCE or something like that...that's different, but in high school
or elementary school...that's not the case.  I've seen kids come from all
Mac schools and jump into my all PC (Win98) lab with no problem at all. 
I've also watched my own students go from the PC lab to the Mac lab with
no problems either.  These days...a computer is a computer...the OS takes
a little getting used to, but not much.  Switching OS's won't "impede"
students ability to function...that's simply a "cop-out".  The only case
where this might be so is in programming or the use of a particular app
that is only ported to a particular OS and in many cases...a less
expensive alternative is available.  IMHO...M$ has gone from "driving" the
market to "pushing and shoving" the market.  As a TC...I've simply had it!
 We cannot afford it!  Nor can I justify it.  How do I say to a third
grader...you can't have another computer in your classroom because M$
wants me to pay an exhoribtant price for a new copy of Windows to go on a
nice machine that was donated by the local university...I have a PROBLEM
with that...it's not right!  So how can I combat that...simply by using
Linux.  Linux gives us the power to make decisions based on needs not on
licenses.  Imagine the day when your TC says "Hey, I think they need a few
more powerful machines in the new computer lab this year"...instead of
saying, "Well guys, you're gonna' have to make do for another year as we
can't afford any more computers...squeeze another year out of those
Pentium 166's".  Believe it or not...many schools are still in these
predicaments...for many of them...Linux may turn out to be the "light". 
Those P166's may make very nice Linux terminals...and voila!  You now have
a "new" powerful lab!  Choices...options....need driven...not market
driven...Open Source...get more mileage....reuse...more access...no
license hassles....stable...all the more reason to make the switch.  So
before you make any accusations that TC's don't have the needs of the
students in mind....understand that there are more students than just
you...most of us have to worry about all students K-12 and staff as
well....and understand that just because you "think" you "need" something
doesn't necessarily make it the best choice for the school.  Look at the
Big Picture...think as a taxpayer and as a Tech Coordinator and then
you'll see things more clearly.

Keep pluggin' away though...your argument is valid...just make sure you
have ALL the facts.

k12osn redhat com writes:
>>This seems to defeat the entire purpose of going off of windows!?
>I don't think the heart of this project is "Windows is bad, so lets run
>it was the plague" (I'm not saying it isn't the plague though ;-) ).  I'm 
>hoping that this whole project was started because some teacher (Paul)
>saw a 
>need for his students.
>Paul undertook this great project and has, in turn, given us a great 
>_LEARNING TOOL_, and yes, it happens to be a linux distro too.  Schools
>have the ability to deliver better computer availability, and also a new 
>learning experience for students.
>If you didn't notice this already, I am a student.  I am also on the 
>technology planning team for my district.  I am so _incredibly_ sick and 
>tired of all the "policy" and politics that are involved in every change 
>that is happening in schools.  Most (notice, I didn't say all) of the
>that get to make the decisions don't have the students in mind.  The 
>administrators get the nice 17" screens so the can read email while the
>student in the drafting class has to scroll their 15" monitor every three 
>seconds to work on their floorplan.  Thinking of the students? Riiight.
>But I digress.  If you are switching to a Linux-based os in your school
>the basis of some prejudice against Microsoft, you need to reevaluate
>motives.  If abandoning Microsoft products is, in some way, going to
>your students ability to function in your local school system, then for
>student's sake, continue using Windows.
>I'm not implying that you don't care about your students.  It is just the 
>opposite. In fact, you probably go above and beyond your job description
>an educator because you are on this listserv.  But just remember, next
>you have to fix your broken Windows lab and your *nix based lab just
>along, if your students need Windows, it is all amazingly worth it.
>If I have offended someone, I am sorry.  I just wanted to open some eyes, 
>and had no intentions to bash educators for what they are doing.  I owe
>ability to function in society, to educators past, present, and future. 
>teachers see me more than my parents do :-)
>Thanks for the exhausting work that you put in every day just to help us 
>ignorant kids.  Deep down, we really appreciate it.
>Jesse Hansen

David N. Trask
Technology Teacher/Coordinator
Vassalboro Community School
dtrask vcs u52 k12 me us

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