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New York School Districts Select Linux Desktops from Novell to Improve Student Access to Technology

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Posted: 17 Aug 2006
 

Students in upstate New York have moved one step closer to having a computer at every desk thanks to a pilot program using Linux desktops from Novell on Intel-based computers. Designed to increase student engagement and awareness among students that they are part of a connected global community, the pilot program is aimed at delivering an Internet-connected computer to every student. This new program will significantly increase computing resources at school while still controlling costs. Ultimately, some 80,000 students in the Rome City School District and other schools supported by the Madison Oneida Regional Information Center could benefit. As a result, students will gain technology skills and a new research tool that will improve their learning experience.

"The ratio of computers to students in our school districts currently makes it impossible for students to get enough hands-on experience to fully leverage the power of technology and the Internet,? said Joan Sotherden, director of the Mohawk Regional Information Center. ?Thanks to the low cost of Linux on Intel processor-based hardware and the management and productivity tools that Novell provides, we can now expand access to technology much more broadly. We hope to move quickly from the pilot to a full deployment in the schools that make up our region."

This Linux early adoption initiative is a cooperative effort between the Mohawk Regional Information Center and the Rome City School District. The Mohawk Regional Information Center is one of 12 Regional Information Centers serving school districts in New York State. The Mohawk Regional Information Center serves a total of 54 school districts and four Board of Cooperative Educations Services (BOCES) ? Herkimer-Hamilton-Fulton-Otsego, Jefferson-Lewis, Madison-Oneida and Oneida-Herkimer-Madison. The center provides school districts with access to state-of-the-art technology services, training, research and expertise, as well as support for teachers, students and administrators. The initial pilot project is happening at the Rome City School District.

"With the world's knowledge growing at light speed in the Internet era, textbooks have a hard time keeping up. We see access to information electronically as the future,? said Tom Gallagher, superintendent of the Rome City School District. ?This initiative will give the students in our schools, many of whom don't have access at home, a new way to plug into information. By providing access to technology, and teaching our kids how to use technology as part of the learning process, we're giving them critical tools that will help them succeed in life."

As part of the pilot, the school will make available to students Intel processor-based laptops running Linux desktops from Novell, which include the OpenOffice 2.0 productivity suite for word processing, presentations and spreadsheets. The school will run Novell Open Enterprise Server for file and print services and Novell ZENworks Linux Management to manage the environment. Teachers in the pilot program will be trained on the desktop to ensure students can move quickly to use the technology. Novell partner Synergy Global Solutions, a local technology partner of the Mohawk Regional Information Center, was actively involved in promoting the program and offers services to assist in the implementation. In addition, InTech Solutions, a local Novell training partner, will provide training for the participating teachers.

"Linux on the desktop offers compelling value for schools, which face permanent budget challenges,? said Susan Heystee, president of Novell Americas. ?With the Linux desktop from Novell, students get all the tools they need to do their work and the IT staff get a solid, secure, easy-to-manage platform ? all at a fraction of the cost of the alternatives. Not surprisingly, we're seeing increasing interest in the education sector in Linux on the desktop."


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