Saturday, February 7, 2009

OLHC Primary Lismore Netbook Trial Begins

I have just started a new project working with OLHC Primary School, South Lismore, NSW. The school is getting an netbook computer for each of their 60 year 5/6 students. The project is seen as an important trial for other schools in the region for many reasons. It is the first large role out of netbooks in the primary school environment where each child will have a computer on their desk all day. The netbooks will be running a version of Linux called Edubuntu instead of Windows and the network management of the system, both from a wireless and software point of view is going to be new territory for all involved. On the educational side, it is going allow teachers involved in the trial, to really explore new ways of learning and I feel priviledged to be part of it.

For me it is very exciting (get a life I can hear you saying). I started this week by banishing Windows from my notebook computer, installing Edubuntu and so I feel that I have jumped in at the deep end. It felt quite liberating saying goodbye to Microsoft (for now anyway). For a long while I have had the feeling that I didn't really have a choice about the software I use in the classroom but after giving Edubuntu a run this week I can see that it is more than just a viable alternative. Not only is it free (and all of the applications that come with it), I like the way my new Gnome desktop works. It is only early days of course but I am very optimistic about it and know that the kids will adapt to the new OS and applications, much quicker than any teacher can.

So now the fun begins and I hope you come back and read my blog and comments from others each week in the hope that you can learn from it as well. My first task is to work out an effective way to store and recharge the netbooks each night in a storeroom at the school so if you can offer any suggestions about this it will be greatly appreciated.


  1. Charlie, we store our classroom computers on trolleys, each holding 10 computers. Each trolley only needs one powerpoint!

  2. Hey Charlie
    I'm an early childhood teacher trained in NSW but my first job was up in FNQ teaching Yr 5 as the first year of their laptop programme. I found that the best idea was to, rather than use it as an add on, think about how can I use the tech to teach the content in a better way. We had fantastic fun with a programme (prob gone now) called Microworlds, which was a programming type softward, doing things like charting Cook's voyages, making science reports so that the mould on the bread grew etc. The major idea that I picked up from some amazing educators that I worked with was to use the tech to teach in a newer and better way rather than to view it as something where you taught the same way just using it as some sort of glorified workbook. I've found your links very useful over the years, don't forget your own expertise! Probably the best thing is that you are starting from a position of excitement and enthusiasm, and with great skills in computers already. Oh, and don't forget typing programmes (the kids still need those drills) and teaching them to keep their folders neatly (or you will NEVER find their work!!). I spent lots of time fixing things that enthusiastic 10 yr olds (esp boys) inflicted on computers, problem solving is a very useful skill for all!
    Good luck!!

  3. Great news Charlie
    I saw these in action at the APPA conference last year.
    How would you like free access to for the trial?
    Skwirk is an online education site based on syllabus in each state..text, images, animations, videos, interactive learning objects, quizzes, exams and more.
    As an ex primary teacher I am very excited by the current progress in ICLT
    contact me for more details

  4. Good luck - your blog is very timely as I am also playing with the idea of a netbook for every student at my school in years 5 and 6. Our Senior School might be a little nervous about this however as they still believe in computer labs! I think we'd find that once students had access to a computer on their desk dull time, they would demand it in the high school.
    Not sure if I'd be brave enough to try another operating system (especially as we are a big K-12 school and have a need for consistency) but I'm so looking forward reading about your trial.
    Cheers, Sunny

  5. Hi Charlie. Sounds like a great project with lots of learning by both teachers and students. One addition that might be helpful is the use of the free applications - Google Docs. The trend to "cloud" computing is pretty strong and this approach has the great advantage of always giving access to files no matter what local disaster occurs.

  6. Hi Charlie,

    I am a deputy at a Catholic School in South East Queensland who is also conducting a research project on the use of netbooks in four Year 7 classrooms. I would like to contact you regarding our research projects. My email address for initial contact is



  7. I need help with resources..anyone know of any books, or resources I can get to upskill myself in I.C.T in schools. We are behind in technology but need to be put up with the play..I dont even know what is out there now, that is the latest technology in schools...anything would be appreciated

  8. I.C.T resources and help wanted.
    Any sites to help me with the latest in technology..teaching ideas for primary school etc. Is there a monthly magazine that I could buy to get all the latest ICT information. I would appreciate any help...

  9. Hi djtracey
    have a look at
    It is the perfect stepping stone for teachers looking to integrate ICLT into their curriculum
    Syllabus based content & media catering for various learning styles
    Please email me at if you would like me to organise some free trial logins