Friday, April 19, 2013

Student Blogs

At our South Arlington Hacker Space meet up last night, Khady Lusby brought the three Arlington Public School seniors who will be going with her to Adja Penda Ba for their "senior experience".  Each of them has started a blog, which they will use to document what they do:
Combining these three new blogs with Brittany's OLPC blog and my own modest efforts, and our project should certainly not be lacking in reflections, observations, and documentation.  Our challenge now will be to coordinate these efforts in the most effective way to help the educational programs both at Adja Penda Ba and the HILT Institute.

There will be lots of changes at our school next year, with the coming of Arlington Mill High School to our campus, and the relocation of the HILT Institute on the other side of our building.  I plan to use the opportunity of the move to push for a one-to-one computing project.  For our first year students, we are looking at the XO-4 Touch, which would provide an easily portable, low power consumption, durable platform that would be a great resource for our beginning English Language Learner (ELL) students to learn English, mathematics, social studies, and information technology.

I've been experimenting with Fedora 18 in both VirtualBox vms and on a few of the laptops I have available in my lab.  Thus far, I've made the following observations:
  • The LXDE spin is by far my favorite. While on Ubuntu the XFCE (Xubuntu) is wonderful, on Fedora I found it to be both clunky and ugly.  GNOME shell is awful, but the LXDE version looks nice, is extremely light weight, and makes a great platform for then adding Sugar to the mix.
  • After the initial install, I run $ sudo yum update and then visit the RPM Fusion page to add both the free and non-free repos.  This makes a lot of the software I've come to expect from the Debian Universe repos available on Fedora.
  • After installing the Sugar packages, switching back and forth from Sugar to LXDE is easy to do and works well.
  • $ sudo yum install cinnamon will install the Cinnamon user interface developed by the folks at Linux Mint.  I get the feeling that Cinnamon may be moving toward becoming a standard Fedora spin.  This would be a good thing, since it would make GNOME 3 available without the awful GNOME Shell desktop that currently comes with it.
That's all for now.  With all the activity going on, posts should come more frequently...