richeddy asks: "I am going to start teaching elementary school in the near future. As a new teacher, I have the crazy idea that I might be able to actually teach my students a few things that other teachers just don't seem to be able to teach. This involves teaching methods that might be a bit unconventional. To this end, I am interested in building and installing a network of classroom computers that the students can use in real-world ways. That's right, no glorified flash cards in my classroom! I want my students using computers for research, presentations, writing, data collection and analysis, etc. In order to do this, I am going to have to personally foot the bill for the hardware and software. So I am looking for suggestions on what direction to go. I figure that I will need 5-7 computers to accomplish my vision, and I can't imagine paying for Windows and Windows apps. It looks like my only real option is to build the systems myself, which isn't a problem. Any ideas? Suggestions? Comments?"
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