“Many school 1:1 programs restrict what students may do and learn with their devices. Installation or modification of software is typically restricted, often draconically, to IT personnel. This common practice cripples learning and dishonors studentsâ€™ autonomy. In contrast, our program begins with a deep level of trust; student accounts are given sudo privileges and granted the liberty to install programs, spin configuration knobs, and freely experiment with the universe of open source software. Novice and accomplished students are welcomed and encouraged to learn the art of computing and pursue personal passions and interests. By starting the conversation with "We trust you," and providing an open platform for learning, we set in motion a train of student inquiry and discovery.” When I was a teacher, I trusted my students and was rarely disappointed. Students thrive when they own the educational experience. That’s true whether it’s mathematics, science or information technology that is the subject matter. The school in TFA article is allowing students to build operating systems, set up PCs and roll-out software. Good for them. I’ve turned students loose on PCs with screwdrivers and vacuum cleaners with no breakage. Students became adept at disassembling and reassembling ATX PCs. Installing software was easy. Even girls who, in high school, may have chosen non-computer-geek paths, can get into it and put to shame the computer-savvy boys who may not have as good an eye for detail and fine manual dexterity. It’s all good.
See also Welcome to the Laptop Machine, where they describe the factory where students roll out the systems. It’s FLOSS throughout. No need for that other OS, budgets or severe lockdown to hold students back.