One of my two jobs for the week for Lynne May’s SoaS deployment is getting hardware for all this to run on.
The first (and largest) purchases we’ll have to make are the netbooks. Peter Robinson, our resident Fedora netbook guru, looked earlier for something that fit our specs and price range ($1000 USD for 3 netbooks) while being sturdily-built (mechanical design is important; we’ve got first-graders here) with a good battery life. One requirement was known compatibility with recent versions of Fedora, since SoaS is Fedora-based (the next release will be a Fedora Spin) and we’re trying to stack the deck in favor of the software and hardware working together as smoothly as possible. Based on these criteria, Peter recommended the Acer Aspire One 532h, which is about $300.
(photo cc-by from ndevil)
Lynne May also wanted a little video/still camera to capture the students playing with Sugar – they’re still learning to read and write, so having an easy way to record verbal presentations (and demos/screencasts, for that matter) in the classroom means we’ll get that much more documented output. (We will, however, need to get permission from the parents of individual kids to share the video material.) But right now we just need to get the hardware – so I pointed her towards the Kodak zi8 which can be had refurbished for about $150 USD and has gotten a big thumbs-up from Mo Duffy. Seriously, I borrowed it at the office two months after she got it and she was still raving about it, so it’s got to be good stuff. Waiting for the +1 on funding for that.
(One of the things I’ve learned while writing this post: finding CC-licensed photos of hardware is hard. I couldn’t find one for the zi8.)
And of course we need the sticks themselves. We need 14 sticks (9 students, 1 teacher, 4 testing/backup) and need them to have caps that aren’t removable, because that’s just asking for lost caps in a classroom full of 6-7 year olds. Other than that, we don’t really care what we get, so this should be easy to source once we get the (very small) amount of funding needed for them. (Yes, when you’re working with a classroom, $100 can be a blocker.)
(Original images cc-by from molotalk – superdry, red bull/honda, ship, and banana. Also, this picture should make it painfully obvious why I need friends like Nikki to fix my wince-inducing color schemes.)
I’m going to be placing orders early on Monday morning, so any last-minute feedback (including running screaming in our direction going “noooooooooo this is a bad ideaaaaaaa!” if applicable) would be muchly appreciated.