The browser is such a beautiful thing.
I'm struck by how much of a browser fanatic I am. Links, productivity, files- everything is just so much easier to find just by typing into that wonderful little address/search bar. Why can't everything just live in there? Can it store my car keys? Well, the darned thing can remotely turn on my Squeezebox Internet Radio from anywhere in the country, so it probably can.
So, today, it occurred to me that Google may yet solve all of the world's problems. Okay, maybe not all of them, but maybe just this one- the one most technology directors and facilitators struggle with every year- user logins.
Last week, a colleague of mine was laboring with having all of these different user names and passwords for all of the different Web services like Edmodo, Wikispaces, Google Docs, Glogster- the list goes on for like 8 more tools. He wanted a tool that could merge them all into one login key. I've heard folks use Moodle, but this doesn't solve a problem like Edmodo, which doesn't allow you to have your own unique URL, among some other ed sites.
After using Ubuntu for the past few weeks on my netbook, I checked out an education version of Ubuntu via Jim Klein, and it was very clear that the problem with all of these login problems I and other tech admins have had over the years isn''t truly with the Web- it is with the operating systems that we use at our schools. Mac, PC, even Linux- there's no perfect solution for multiple logins. Log into the OS, then some of the services, then the rest, depending on the teacher- it's never truly prefect. This is partly why I went toward Google Apps for Education- many good services- under one secure login (SSL- but that's another story). Like the local food movement, every local school has a unique appetite for technology- different OS needs and different students. The OS and the district should tailor itself to those specific needs. It should grow its own OS based on the technology appetite at its own district.
I've heard of folks using Moodle as a front door, which is fine- that's open source as well, but my guess is that soon, many of these problems are going to be solved by a new product that uses the Web as the OS. And I'm talking about Google Chrome OS. And with Google cozying up with OAuth, I think that we are starting to see the light at the end of the security tunnel. I'd be interested is seeing how that could be integrated into an Education Version of Google Chrome OS, let's call it Google Chrome OS for Education Remix.
Logging into Apps for Ed? Solved! Logging into Voicethread? Done! Wikispaces or Glogster? Done and done! One click!
Ubuntu is a great solution right now, and I would recommend any district save itself $50,000 and dump all those extra software licenses and, you know, hire a teacher.
This post was cross-posted at http://drezac.com