March of the Penguins

from Technology & Learning

When Finnish software engineer Linus Torvalds, "the father of Linux," was playing with the idea of a mascot for his open source code, he came up with a penguin. His reasoning: "...using something like a penguin gives people the chance to make modifications that are still recognizable." Thus, the Linux symbol Tux was born.

And like his real-life counterparts, the chubby Tux is not considered an especially noble or threatening beast. In fact, he might be considered the antihero, a metaphor that could be played out when you think of the huge software companies he's competing against. On "Linux Makes the Grade," author and T&L managing editor Melissa Houston details why and how Linux is suddenly sweeping the nation, is finding a comfortable home in schools, and is an alternative you'll want to consider.

This month we also take a look at some other swiftly growing trends. In "Virtual Learning 2.0," Sara Armstrong gets us up to speed on how the read/write Web is enabling a whole new kind of participatory instructional environment, and how that is driving 21st-century approaches to professional development. Participation in a face-to-face venue is also getting a big boost today from remote responders, or "clickers." In "Clickers Rule!", we give you the lowdown on 10 of the latest new ones on the market.

Our usual focus on practical tips and integration can be seen this issue in our Reviews department, where Carol Holzberg steps us through LEGO's latest robot-building kit and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach looks at Elluminate's online conference software. In Integration, Harry Grover Tuttle illustrates 14 ways to liven up the foreign language classroom with technology. As well, be sure not to miss this quarter's special print edition of School CIO, where Sheila Riley shares her conversation with SRI International's Jeremy Roschelle, and we bring you key findings from Eduventures' 2007 research on enterprise management.

Susan McLester
Editor in Chief