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[vox] Re: [fwd] What converting to Linux can do for a school
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[vox] Re: [fwd] What converting to Linux can do for a school

And someone asked _how_ Linux thin clients helped (specifically the math scores),
and Daniel gave a thorough answer. :)

----- Forwarded message from Daniel Howard -----

Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 11:34:33 -0400
From: Daniel Howard
Subject: Re: [school-discuss] What converting to Linux can do for a school

wenheping wrote:
> Could you tell us in more detailed way that how "Linux+thin client" can
> improve math score?

Here's what we found:  Moving to Linux and thin client architecture
allowed us to cost effectively triple the number of working PCs in each
class.  This, coupled with more reliable web access (via a local cable
modem) allowed the teachers to *regularly integrate* the use of the PC
into daily activities, which they were not doing before.  In addition to
the built-in OSS math applications, the teachers used web sites such as
First-In-Math on a daily basis for all students.  The combination of
daily, structured, individual time on the PCs doing reading and math
activities, coupled with the use of PC math activities when students
finished their work early (and previously had to be kept out of trouble
from distracting others) increased the time on task due to 1) the
availability of ubiquitous applications (either web based, or OSS loaded
on all servers) and 2) enough working PCs in each class so that all
students could use them daily for at least an hour, and also in between
other activities.  This produced a massive increase in the time spent
doing math activities for all students.  The kids thought they were
playing games or doing a web competition, but really they were
practicing math skills in a thoroughly enjoyable manner to them.

Further, improved productivity using the PCs led to more time available
to practice math: the conversion of creative writing activities from
pencil and paper to PC based (using Abiword) more than halved the time
it took to produce a final product, again, leaving more time for math
activities in between.

Another effect we saw was that at the end of the year, the 5th grade
teachers began an inquiry-based project on the ocean in the last two
weeks of school.  They really just turned the students loose on the PCs
with some guidance on the type of info to find, and the students found
it themselves and produced bulletin board displays, presentations
(teaching themselves Impress in the process), etc.  The teachers stated
that they would have never tried to begin such a project in the final
weeks of school before, it would have taken 2 months the old way without
enough PCs, and used to be the last two weeks were sort of a ramping
down period.  The principal stated that in all her years of
teaching/administrating, she had never seen the last two weeks of school
be so productive and filled with intensive learning.

So, I'd say in a nutshell that the OSS and web based software apps made
learning math fun for the students, and having enough PCs, which was
only possible using OSS and the thin client architecture, meant that all
kids had plenty of access to PCs and could seamlessly use them
throughout the day.  Results were increased productivity, increased time
spent doing math, and extension of learning right up to the final days
of school.


----- End forwarded message -----

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