I have just started a new project working with OLHC Primary School, South Lismore, NSW. The school is getting an netbook computer for each of their 60 year 5/6 students. The project is seen as an important trial for other schools in the region for many reasons. It is the first large role out of netbooks in the primary school environment where each child will have a computer on their desk all day. The netbooks will be running a version of Linux called Edubuntu instead of Windows and the network management of the system, both from a wireless and software point of view is going to be new territory for all involved. On the educational side, it is going allow teachers involved in the trial, to really explore new ways of learning and I feel priviledged to be part of it.
For me it is very exciting (get a life I can hear you saying). I started this week by banishing Windows from my notebook computer, installing Edubuntu and so I feel that I have jumped in at the deep end. It felt quite liberating saying goodbye to Microsoft (for now anyway). For a long while I have had the feeling that I didn't really have a choice about the software I use in the classroom but after giving Edubuntu www.edubuntu.com a run this week I can see that it is more than just a viable alternative. Not only is it free (and all of the applications that come with it), I like the way my new Gnome desktop works. It is only early days of course but I am very optimistic about it and know that the kids will adapt to the new OS and applications, much quicker than any teacher can.
So now the fun begins and I hope you come back and read my blog and comments from others each week in the hope that you can learn from it as well. My first task is to work out an effective way to store and recharge the netbooks each night in a storeroom at the school so if you can offer any suggestions about this it will be greatly appreciated.