Public Primary School Rosa Boekdrukker
The public primary school Rosa Boekdrukker in Amsterdam is probably the only primary school in the Netherlands that develops OSS/GPL educational software. We made a CMS and a client-server system, both for primary education. Please see links below.
Our school can take part in a broadband fiber school network experiment that is being carried out in Amsterdam. In the coming years all schools in Amsterdam will have fiber broadband connections to the Internet and a 1Gb fiber broadband LAN with the schools under one board. We want to experiment with audio and video on the network
Our School tries to do as much as possible with Open Source because we think that's what education is about: sharing knowledge. In that sense we became interested in the Elphel camera. It's OSS/GPL, even the hardware! And it gives high resolution output. In our opinion, using a broadband connetion and connecting a cheap low-level webcam and a carbon :-) mic to it is stupid. As a microphone we use a Sennheiser MD421. In this way we hope the end user benefits as much as possible from the qualities a fiber network can deliver.
We will use the camera in our schools LAN, either hand held or on a tripod. Maybe we can build a portable camera. Our volunteer developed cameras for psychiatric and educational use in the days of the b/w vidicons.
The Camera Arrives: getting started
Wow! It's a beauty! Now let's see if we, simple teachers, can get this thing to work. We dowloaded the PDF manual and went to page 8. It's not completely clear how to setup connections because the picture of the power supply differs from what we have in our hands.
Our PS has two RJ45 connectors labeled: Data in and PoE OUT. PoE out: it seems reasonable to connect that one to the camera. On the other hand, 'Data In' could be referring to the data coming _from_ the camera. We are in doubt. And decide to ask for help. Could it be an idea to provide some simple drawing in which three setups are drawn with cables and cable types (standard RJ45 and Crossover):
1. Camera on computer 2. Camera on switch without PoE 3. Camera on switch with PoE
Waiting for the answer, we will download teh Live-CD at Sourceforge. We go 'Download' > 'Browse All Files'. We find 'live-cd' (version 2.0.0) and 'Download'. We click the 'Download' link. We can download the live DVD2.0.0.tar! We have no DVD! We want the CD. We try 1.5.1., a tar.gz. After uncompressing we have a directory with a bunch of files. With the aid of Knoppix we can compile a CD. That't to complicated for us. There is no .iso image from which we can burn a Live-CD. What to do? Where is the .iso image? Tomorrow we will ask. The next morning, we try again on Sourceforge. Finally we find an .iso image: knoppix-elphel-126.96.36.199.iso This may seem rediculous, searching for an .iso, but I am visually impaired and not experienced, so I need clear cut directions.
Notes for a teacher manual:
- what's in the box
- lens, camera, RING
- connecting the various pieces (cables & cable types) (picture + explanation) - Downloading the CD
- Requirements of PC. P3 800+ 256MB ram cannot play stream via mplayer.
- set BIOS to start from CD
- basic checks
- focussing the camera
- set network to a 192.168.0 range
- use firefox to go to http://192.168.0.9 - enable popup windows in FF
Tuesday 19 march
We made some progress. The camera is in our schoolnetwork. Can be reached by gong httP://camera inside the school. We use DHCP.
Is the camera setup GUI password protectable?
The camera works great with VLC. No special tricks, no patches, just the normal download an the tucows.dll
We have several ideas on the usage of cameras and sound over fiber broadband which we want to investigate. Among them are: giving parents access to classrooms during lessons over Internet, online classroom access for children ill at home, public lessons over the Internet, using the school unstaffed by others, children creating podcasts as project research documentation, to name a few.