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Linux Terminal Servers in Saskatchewan Schools
Sunday, November 13 2005 @ 11:35 AM CST
Contributed by: pogson
Views:: 3,761
Education Robert Pogson

La Loche, SK, Canada

While we all know computers cannot teach, they are excellent tools for conveying information of many kinds in the educational community and give good value for money and effort spent to place them in schools. Most schools use computer labs and a minimal number of computers in the classroom. I believe the time has come to increase use of computers in classrooms and I believe it can be done much more economically.

There are three key elements to these changes:

  • we must use more free software
    • operating systems, Linux and FreeBSD, for example
    • network services like Apache, MySql, NTP
    • applications, FOSS (Free Open Source Software), such as OpenOffice, GIMP, Mozilla FireFox
    • web applications like Moodle course management system, CopperminePhotoGallery, and Wikipedia, suitable filtered
    • we can free ourselves from the cost and liability of dealing with a demonstrably unethical corporation, Microsoft
  • we must use thin client/terminal server networks
    • K12LTSP has been very successful
    • Debian GNU/Linux + LTSP has a very large collection of software
    • thin clients are inexpensive to buy and operate
    • one terminal server costs about the same as a PC and can run applications and services for many clients
  • we must do more to train teachers how to use PCs and networks in a teaching environment
    • we can share at conventions
    • professional development for teachers should demonstrate what can be done and literature should be distributed to teachers and administrators
I have written an article following this which goes into more detail and provides links to literature on this better way of providing computing technology in schools.



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