One aspect of charter schools is that they can be laboratories of innovation, developing new methods that can be replicated for the benefit of traditional public schools. Newark Charter School (NCS) has done just that in one area at least: stretching its computer dollars to make more computers available, with the bonus that they are also more reliable.
NCS runs a significant number of its computers with a system called the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP). With LTSP, the connected computers are thin clients. That means they don’t have an operating system of their own (like Windows, Mac, or anything else). Instead, each time you start up the computer it downloads an operating system from its central server (onsite at the school).
In fact, LTSP computers (terminals) don’t even need their own hard drives. The operating system it downloads is a version of Linux, complete with all the…
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