1:1 Laptop School Design Results

The results of the “Design a 1:1 Laptop School” survey are available at


The survey had over a hundred visits and 34 completed responses. I’ll be taking a closer look at the data next week.

1:1 School Design Survey Closes in 48 Hours

If you wanted to answer all or part of the 29 question “Design a 1:1 Laptop School” survey, you have 48 hours left to go to this link:


On Thursday, I’ll close the survey and make the results publicly accessible here and on the ISED-L discussion list. We have 24 completed surveys so far, which isn’t bad considering the number of questions it has.

Hampstead High Street

Hampstead High Steet

I’ve had an interesting morning so far.

I got up about six, had breakfast while the family slept, and then swiped a couple of books and walked up to Hampstead High Street thinking I’d spend an hour at a coffee shop reading and drinking coffee.

In London, most of the smaller communities (like Hampstead, where we’ve found a flat), have their own “High Street” or place of commerce and shops. Hampstead’s is particularly quaint, with old brick buildings, narrow connecting alleys, and a tube stop at the center. Our flat is about two blocks above the High Street, and only one block from Hampstead Heath, an 800 acre green park with ponds and trails and kite flying and fishing. It will be our kid’s backyard (with us along, of course).

Anyway, I made it to my desired coffee shop about 7:30 a.m., and found it closed. Sundays: opens 8:00 a.m. So for a half-hour I sat on a street bench to read. All the time, I glanced up at the architecture, which sometimes has high-end boutiques grafted into the ground floors of ancient looking brick and mortar structures. It’s an interesting history just to review the layers of wiring and cables strung up the facades, revealing different strata of upgrades.

After getting a bit chilly, I made it into the coffee house to read for an hour as sun warmed the comfortable chairs and padded booths. Then I walked back through a narrow alley to the narrow streets back to our temporary studio flat. We move into our 3-bedroom place on next Friday– it’s time to make a home. As for this afternoon, I think we’ll visit Greenwich.

Update: I’ve posted a photo gallery of our trip to Greenwich today. It was fun to walk under the Thames, visit the Old Royal Naval College, see the National Maritime Museum, and climb up to the National Observatory.

Photo credit: Richard Friedman at http://rchrd.com/photo/archives/2005/09/hampstead_high.html.

Resources from Lausanne Laptop Institute 2007

Annotated Resource List from the Lausanne Laptop Institute in Memphis, TN, July 2008:

Topic: Ian Jukes Keynote

Four trends are increasing exponentially:
1) Moore’s Law
2) Photonics (bandwidth increases on exiting fiber optic cables)
3) The Internet
4) Infowhelm (overwhelming, disposable information)

To deal with exponential change, he argued that information fluency needs to be an overt part of the core curriculum and taught by all teachers. More info: http://web.mac.com/iajukes/iWeb/thecommittedsardine/Home.html

Topic: Will Richardson Keynote

Social Network Online: IBM has created thousands of internal Wikis and social networking pages for employees. Businesses are becoming conversations.
Digital Divide: one in three people in Philadelphia have never used the Internet.
http://fanfiction.net – example of 24/7 opportunity for individuals to discuss favorite books and stories and create their own.
MIT Open Courseware example: deep collection of MIT curriculum available for free online. http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html (Note: amazing amount of content.)
Fun example: US student put a rough draft of his history paper on Wikipedia and then watched as others revised and completed it.
See http://willrichardson.wikispaces.com for a long list of interesting examples of the “read/write” web. One interesting example is the presence of Stanford University lectures on iTunes.

Topic: Captive Portal at St. Agnes Academy

St. Agnes Academy has a “bring your own” laptop program. To reduce their support calls, time and installations, they have created a “captive portal” for all users on the wireless network. After logging in (at school or at home), students have access to

1) Xythos for access to their files (PC and OS X).
2) Outlook Web Access for Email
3) PrinterOn for printing on campus (on-campus only).
4) AppStream for Ebooks and Application packages (Adobe CS, for example).

Xythos is interesting is that it is cross-platform, Web-Dav, and enables collaboration on documents and folders. In fact, it can even enable a mapped drive at home. Additionally, students can “share” a folder of files and Xythos will create a link with an encoded key so that the access to the fold is secure but a simple link. http://www.xythos.com/home/xythos/index.html

PrinterOn software allows any laptop on campus to print through a web page. It can use a single, generic print driver, and they plan to add keypads to printers so that students enter a code to enable print jobs after sending them. http://www.printeron.net/

AppStream is an interesting way to deliver licensed materials (Ebooks, Applications). Windows only. http://www.appstream.com/

Currently, the captive portal requires ldap passwords for each of the services. They are looking into replacing it with a Joomla Portal (http://www.joomlaportaldemo.com/) and CAS (http://www.ja-sig.org/products/cas/) for single password authentication to multiple services. Supposedly, Moodle and OWA support CAS.

Topic: Rethinking the Liberal Arts

This session was done by my friend, Daniel Hudkins, at the Harker school in San Jose. One of the most interesting parts of this presentation was his description of a multi-year effort with the librarians at the school to create a set of “research across the curriculum” standards and vocabulary that would help students K-12 with the changing world of research. The objective they are working towards is the full adoption of the Big 6 standards by teachers, tech staff and librarians so all share a same protocol for research (http://www.big6.com/ ). This is an impressive endeavor, and I learned of other schools doing the same with Big 6 and variations of it.

Topic: Virtual Systems

This was a thought-provoking session by Lee Tilley about the use of Virtual Machine software for both servers and workstations. (Microsoft Virtual PC: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/virtualpc/default.mspx) (VMware: http://www.vmware.com/). Some of these products are free, and others have cost-additional features.

Tilley listed a number of servers that he now runs virtually and can easily replace the single-file VMs on if they have problems, or start them on a different box. I like this idea—having one or two reserve servers with sets of images from active servers to use as backups.

Secondly, however, is the interesting idea of creating VMs for students. There is a VMWare for OSX and Windows, and the idea is that students could take single file VMs and install them on their own laptops or home machines to have access to a standardized school desktop, licensed applications, ebooks, etc. Toward this end, a Key Server could be used to control how many copies of licensed software could be used at once. (http://www.sassafras.com/). This idea may not be ready for primetime, yet, but I could see the strong advantages over Citrix for sharing a common desktop and reducing the time of installations on student-owned machines.

It was noted that there are other ways of delivering apps to student machines, including Softricity (http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/softgrid/default.mspx). And using 2X on a terminal server for a thin client solution (http://2x.com/).

Topic: Open Source Software

This presentation shared the chosen open source solutions for a school—focusing on cost savings and equity of access. These included titles like Stellarium, Celestia, Artrage2, and other titles that may also be freeware or low cost options. CMap can be used instead of Inspiration, for example. See http://www.yvelc.vic.edu.au/cd/open_source/index.html for resource links. One of the most interesting is an 80 page PDF document that reviews a large range of open source software for schools: http://www.osv.org.au/index.cgi?tid=155

There’s also a list of recommended software titles: http://www.yvelc.vic.edu.au/cd/open_source/software.html

Topic: Urban School in SF Laptop Program

This was a presentation about the how the Urban School iBook/Macbook program was created, evolved and run today. It was a refreshing look, because they have opted for simplicity and open access to resources at nearly every turn. The teachers and students are given a lot of independence with the tools, and they have not created complicated systems for backups, filtering, or staff development. Each student is given an 80 gig hard drive to take home for their backups, for example. The school First Class server is the main content system, with conferences for classes. The don’t filter Internet content, but they did need to install an Allot Net Enforcer to shape traffic and stop point-to-point file sharing (http://www.allot.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=45&Itemid=44).
This can also be done with a Packeteer (http://www.packeteer.com/) or a Cymphonix box (http://www.cymphonix.com/).

It’s also interesting that they use Extremez IP (http://www.grouplogic.com/products/extreme/overview.cfm) to enable AFP sharing from a Windows file server (to handle long file names, etc.). They also use STOP stickers on all laptops (http://www.computersecurity.com/stop/prevention.htm).

Finally, they use EZProxy for home access to subscription databases (http://www.usefulutilities.com/support/overview.html). In effect, the students log into the proxy from home, and then have direct access to the databases without additional passwords.

Topic: Student Information Systems

Two schools I follow and respect both made an interesting move this year. They are implementing PCR Educator (http://www.pcreducator.com/pcrportal/default.aspx) for at least part of their student information system, and they plan to use it’s links into FinalSite (http://www.finalsite.com/) for web access to student information. This coalition between PCR Educator and Finalsite is relatively new, but I look forward to hearing what their experiences are.

“Synergy Unleashed” Presentation Slides

The following PDF has my presentation slides from the “Synergy Unleashed” session yesterday at the 2007 Lausanne Laptop Institute:

Synergy Unleashed Presentation Slides

I really enjoyed the session, but it was a more difficult presentation because I wanted to hear the views and ideas of the attendees, and not just share my ideas. Three interesting points from them:

1) Changing the school day can/will be affected by after-school sports schedules.

2) College admissions will need to adjust and take time to understand the new programs that 1:1 learning can enable.

3) Providing laptop stands, keyboards and mice to all faculty with laptops can help a lot with ergonomics when the laptops are used for longer periods of time. They could also be provided in libraries and other places where student laptops are used for longer periods of time.

On July 26th, I’ll share the results of the survey that was developed for the presentation. It’s a long survey, but I have 19 complete responses so far and I hope others will click on the link in the previous post and answer the questions they are interested in.

Design a 1:1 Laptop School

Design A 1:1 SchoolI just spent the morning in a Memphis Hotel room finishing my materials for my 2007 Lausanne Laptop Institute presentation tomorrow. The session is called “Synergy Unleashed,” and its a discussion of how we might focus the design of a brand new school in order to take full advantage of the benefits of 1:1 laptops. That doesn’t mean maximizing their use– but to bring out the best synergy of laptops and learning.

I’m interested in this topic for a lot of reasons– primarily, I wonder if there’s general agreement among ed tech types that there are types of schools that laptops serve well. If we could quantify those characteristics, it might help us as we shape our own program designs and expectations of how 1:1 laptops will work in existing schools.

Toward this end, I’ve transferred most of the content from the presentation to a Zoomerang survey that everyone can complete. To take the survey, simply go to


I will also post this link and invitation on the ISED-L discussion list, as well as inviting my session attendees to take the survey tomorrow. On July 26th, I’ll make the results of the survey publicly available both here and on a post to ISED-L.

Now, if I can get this done, I can go for a hot and humid walk in Memphis, TN.

Good First Week

It’s been a good first week in London. I was able to spend a bit of time at my office at ASL, and I really enjoyed all of the meetings I’ve had so far even if I’m still early in the learning curve about the systems, infrastructure and integration achievements there.

My kids seem to really be enjoying London so far, and they are fully relaxed on the Underground, and visiting the parks and walking the sometimes crowded streets of downtown. We had a great walk down to Oxford Circus last night to buy my son the next in the Harry Potter series for him to read, and the Italian pizza we had on the way was really refreshing.

Tomorrow, we have work to do. I’m going to stash some of our luggage in my office at ASL, we’re going to make a temporary move to a studio apartment in a Hotel a couple of tube stops north, and we’re going to visit the estate agents handling our planned flat to have our reference checks done. With luck, we’ll be in our three bedroom flat in Hampstead (a block away from Hampstead Heath) by July 21st.

Saturday, I fly to Memphis to attend and present at the Lausanne Laptop Institute next week. Hmmm, busy times…

Tour de France in London

Tour de France 2007

I’ve wanted to see some of the Tour de France ever since Greg LeMond did so well, and on our first full day in London I got the chance. The prologue, an individual time trial, was held in Hyde Park, so we made our way down and watched the action for about two hours on Saturday. Remarkable speed. Remarkable turn out of fans.

Meanwhile, we have an offer in on a three-bedroom flat in Hampstead, just two tube stops north of the American School in London. The place has a lot of character, and is only a block and a half away from Hampstead Heath, a very large park with fishing, swimming, hiking, sporting fields, and more. We thought it would make a great backyard for the kids. The “High Street” in Hampstead is also really nice.

We don’t have a confirmed acceptance yet on the place, and if we don’t we can’t move in until about the 19th. That means picking up a tab for about a week in the Kensington Holiday Inn– you don’t want to know what that will cost. The travel is half-way affordable here, and the food is about what we expected, but the accommodations costs seem off the scale.

For more pictures from our day at the Tour, see


(Photo above by my son, Doug. He was able to charm his way to the rail for a good view.)

Zero Hour

Well, I’ve looked forward to writing this post. It appears our long spring of work is done, at least on the USA end.

I enjoyed teaching the three day ISM workshop at Salt lake City last week, and I learned a lot about document retention and destruction policies as a result. The only bad part was being away for four days at the very end of our house clean out and “move to London” prep. My wife, as usual, did a brilliant job when I was away. The last few days were spent closing the books at OES for 2006-2007, and then a fairly horrific stretch of final house cleaning, seven pickup loads of stuff to move around (Goodwill, Dump, Mum’s house), and then a few hours of July 4th celebration with my family yesterday afternoon (before repacking everything late last night).

United jetAt the moment, though, things look good. All eight (!) of our bags are checked in, I’m enjoying the free WiFi at the Portland Airport, the kids and wife are buying books at Powells, and I’m ready for a large Coffee People coffee as I watch our bags. Our Portland to Chicago flight is on time, and the United check-in person was actually surprised to tell us that Chicago was having a very good day.

We should be in London at 11:15 a.m. tomorrow, and hopefully we’ll find a cart to get our giant mound of luggage to the station wagon that’s arranged to drive us to the Hotel Danubius in Regents Park where we have two adjoining rooms arranged for a week.

The next adventure: finding a flat to live in. The optimum find would be three bedrooms, walking distance to the American School in London, older with character, easy to resupply, maybe a lease to own option… who knows. What ever it is, we hope/need to secure it next week.

On July 14th, I fly again. This time to Memphis, TN to do a presentation at the Lausanne Laptop Conference. More on that presentation later– for now, I want to enjoy my coffee and the accomplishments so far.

A fond farewell to the tech team at OES– I was spoiled with two send off parties (one at the Lucky Lab, and another at the home of one of the team members). The homemade ice cream at the garden party was especially nice.

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