[Edu-sig] New Job

Joel Kahn jj2kk4 at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 18 12:56:39 CEST 2004

I recently accepted a position at a public school. I
have the combined duties of computer lab supervisor
and technical support person for an entire building
(about 75 to 100 computers plus related equipment).

I think that my new situation presents some
(V)Python-related opportunities, but they need to be
approached quite carefully. For one thing, my employer
is *VERY* conservative, in *all* meanings of the term.
Each new idea, program, gadget, &c that might be
introduced has to go through a *serious* bureaucratic
gauntlet. The administration of the school itself has
extremely limited power; key decisions are made at the
district level. Another important point: this is a K-2
school, and there are issues about how one can use
Python as an educational tool for

My short-term wish list:

1. Could someone donate a laptop that they are no
longer using? This school has some, but they are all
under tight restrictions (see above) and I will need
to have a machine that I can experiment on. The main
processor doesn't have to be cutting edge, of course,
but a lot of RAM would be helpful, and the hard drive
should be large enough for a dual partition between
Windows and Linux that I might be tinkering with at
some future time. A few spare batteries would also be
good. Because of various ugly bureaucratic rules, the
donation would have to be to me personally, *not* to
the school; this might affect any tax breaks that you
were hoping to get. However, I can still give plenty
of favorable publicity to whichever person(s) and/or
firm(s) make the donation possible. :-)

2. I'd like to get some gear to connect a computer to
a TV/VCR so that the image going to the computer's
monitor will also display directly on the TV and can
be recorded on VHS. We already have the TV/VCR in our
computer lab, and a computer has been set aside for
this project too; we just need the hookup stuff. In
this case, the gadget *would* belong to the school,
and it just *might* be purchased out of the school's
budget. Of course, a donated item certainly would be
accepted, as long as the thing works properly.

3. I'm looking for an education-oriented version of
Knoppix that can run reliably on a very old Pentium
machine with limited RAM and disk space. The CD should
be in English; I stress this because there seem to be
several education Knoppixes in various European
languages, but I'm having a hard time finding an
English one. And remember the age group that I'm
dealing with: six to eight years.

This is a start. I'm open to suggestions, but keep in
mind that change is real slow at this place.


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