Saturday, October 18, 2008

Keep it Simple, Stupid

If you have read my earlier post 'Where to from here' you'll have realised that I've been worrying for a while now, trying to work out how you can offer an open wifi system to students, encouraging them to bring their own devices to school (laptops, phones, PSP's etc) and at the same time ensure that their teachers are able to cope with the array of devices in the room (Apples, Windows PC's and Linux machines, as well as a whole array of phones and other portable devices).

Well I think I've cracked it. Really when you think about it, it's down to the software and web browser you use. If you standardise on these, it doesn't matter what machine the students have because the teachers will be familiar with the web browser and software they are using.

With laptops the decision is an easy one, Openoffice would be the software of choice and Mozilla Firefox the browser, as these are both open source and available on all machines. No need to worry about MicrosoftOffice and Internet Explorer. Just make sure the kids have all got Openoffice and Firefox on what ever Laptop they bring to school. Oh and what a surprise, the new era of Linux mini laptops all come with these two pre-installed.

Simple Really.
Easy Peasy.
Lemon Squeezy.

Then you can use Google Docs, Moodle (CMS), Elgg (eportfolio/social network) and a sprinkle of other web2 programs to taste.

With the phone and other portable devices Opera mini would be the browser of choice as this can be installed on most phones/portable devices.

Now that makes me feel a lot better, because I now realise that what ever machines or combination of devices our students have, we won't need to worry. By keeping it simple, stupid we'll be able to concentrate on the pedagogy not the technology.

Using web2 programs will make life easier too as we won't need to add extra software to hundreds of machines or spend extra time putting complicated images on students machines.

The new era of 1:1 is here, facilitated by web2, mobile devices and cheaper mini PC's/webtablets. All we have to do now is ensure that we have a fast internet connection and wifi set up ready to accept any device.

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