Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Next public speaking : Brainstorm K12 conference in Wisconsin

The Brainstorm conference will be held from the 28th of February to the 2nd of March in Wisconsin Dells. This is a dedicated conference for the IT+K12 world : the subtitle reads "For K12 techs by K12 techs".  K12 is a very particular domain where problems are somehow shared across the country and, I would even generalize a step further : problems in the US are the same as in most of other countries. Most of the K12 publicly founded education systems in the world don't have enough money to fulfill their core business.

In IT, this translate directly in terms of Student/Computer ratio. It vary from 3:1 to 7:1 depending on how you measure the statistics (computers that are older than 5 years, etc.). In the K12 IT department, the IT budget is only linked to the number of students, not to the number of computers that the IT department has to manage. Thus, increasing the number of computers really diminish the service quality : the same staff has to manage twice the number of devices !

All in all, we can say that education in general and K12 in particular can not leverage the power of networks and computers in a classroom environment : K12 schools manage scarcity while the IT world manage abundance (think Facebook, Google, etc.).

Open Source and thin-clients can certainly change this and empower students and teachers so that they can have one computer per user (when needed initially but, hopefully in a near future ... always) and, as a consequence, leverage the Web 2.0 and benefit from the global knowledge that is Internet.

I will present two conferences, one about large scale open source deployment in a K12 environment and the other one about Open Source thin clients, namely, the project Revolution Linux leads called LTSP-Cluster.

On another level, I will be co-chair of an Open Source round-table : my goal will be to make sure that every participants gets at least one of his question answered. We will prepare some questions and define the format. I will post our efforts on this blog.

Sessions that we will present :

  • Break-1841 - The New 1 to 1: Scalable and Affordable Ubiquitous Computing Using Open Source

    In this session, you will see how the concept of "Ubiquitous Computing" could help bring your 1:1 project to life by removing barriers that prevent access to technology. Learn to provide access to the same computing environment no matter the device or the location ! All this using Open Source technologies that can scale to your entire school district.
  • Break-1820 - Open Source Social Networking Tools

    MySpace, Facebook, You Tube.... Students in your school district are using them.
    Staff in your school districts are using them. Come and see how others are using internal open source social networking tools to leverage learning in a controlled environment. Get your feet wet using various open source social network and microblogging tools.

  • Break-1840 - A Comprehensive LInux Back-End Infrastructure

    This session will describe a cost-effective approach to a global open source back-end infrastructure large number of students as deployed by Revolution Linux in various school districts in North America. The main goal of these projects is to centralize various information services (such as file servers, printing services, email and collaboration tools, web and authentication) in order to better manage resources and to transfer expertise locally. Using open source software enables the school board to offer more efficient services, such as automated schoolwork management and the automated generation of school website CMS.
  • Break-1842 - Desktop in the Cloud with LTSP-Cluster

    See how it is possible to deploy and manage a large number of desktops in a private cloud using LTSP-Cluster. LTSP is the Linux Terminal Server Project. Using LTSP-Cluster enables you to deploy thousands of desktop in a scalable manner. You will be able to see and test yourself features that those Linux desktop offers using Thin or Fat Clients, such as 3D support, multimedia, 3D effects, and much more. You will also see remote access of the desktop in the Cloud, and support for Windows Terminal Server.
  • Break-1843 - Netbook and laptop management with Linux

    Know how you can use Ubuntu Linux Netbook Remix in your netbook 1:1 environment, and see the possibilities available to manage a large number of mobile devices like laptops and netbooks in a flexible and scalable way.
  • Open Source roundtable

    Come ask your question about K12 and Open Source !
I propose the #k12brainstorm tag for twitters out there.
Also, I have create a linkedin event :

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