Steve Taffee. We're certainly not perfect in all areas as a department and there is room for improvement, but in many respects I think our school is at the forefront of the "Green Computing" movement. This is especially evident with our "New" Linux lab that Steve and Adam Contois (Help Desk/Sys Engineer) deployed this past summer. I write "New" in quotations because the lab itself is new, but the computers in the lab are actually circa 2002 IBM desktop computers with old LCD displays and reused keyboards and mice. These old IBM computers were replaced last year in our language learning lab by new HP desktops. When we made the decision last spring to relocate our 17" iMac computers from our iMac lab to a newly created "Digital Arts Studio" in our fine arts center, instead of purchasing brand new replacement computers we decided to re-use the old IBMs to fill the void (I might also add that this move saved our school a significant sum of $$$). The computers feature a pretty standard installation of Ubuntu Linux, which includes Open Office and a folder of games. I'm amazed at boot times, application loading speed, and the all around solid performance of computers that TCO models are telling us to put out to pasture.
Initial student reaction to the computers in this space is typically, "These are ugly." But when they consider the environmental impact and when they actually use the computers, the students really seem to appreciate and enjoy this resource. Quite honestly, after 10 minutes of web browsing and working in our new web-based email system (Google Apps), the students seem to completely forget that they are using a different operating system. We had a full class of 17 students in the lab for the first time this past week and the performance was quite solid, especially considering each student was authoring in Google Docs, a web based word processing environment.
On Tuesday of this past week we had our first "Linux Lab Open House." We invited students, teachers, staff and administrators to come take a look at the Linux desktop operating system in action. We only had a few people attend, but it proved to be a very nice introduction to Linux as an operating system. See the video clip below from Tuesday's open house. We're hoping to have a second open house at some point in October and we're going to try to invite parents as well. We're even considering doing a "Make-it-take-it" type of day where students/families can bring in their old computers and we'll help them load Ubuntu Linux.