9.1 Proposal: Printing support

Carol Hussein Lerche cafl at msbit.com
Wed Oct 22 13:17:51 EDT 2008

I have thought about the "printing problem" for a while now.  First, I spent
several years assisting in classrooms where computers were used and printers
were available, so I have some sense for how teachers and kids use printing
resources.  When printers are available kids will try to use them because
they like to hold the stuff they found or created on the computer in their
hand.  But they also use them to excess.  Many kids try to print everything
they see.  Because printers are slow, the same phenomenon occurs that we see
with kids trying to start applications multiple times due to not seeing it
immediately start the first time also happens with printing, that is
printing the same thing multiple times since it didn't pop out right away.

While I totally agree with the need for printing in school settings, even in
resource starved schools in the third world, I think what is needed for all
schools is a different paradigm than traditional printer support.

As usual, defining the use cases helps.  One use case is "kids turn in a
finished product that the teacher will read and review later, perhaps
posting on a bulletin board or sharing with others".  For this, having a
"turn it in" interface that the teacher could then leaf through, print as
pdf to a usb stick destination or "print all" would be better than having
kids print directly.  They would understand that submitting was like turning
in homework, namely that a final product was expected and that doing it
twice was an error of some kind.  I suspect there is a preexisting basis for
setting this up within Moodle, but Martin could comment on this better.

The second use case is teacher printing of arbitrary things.  This, I think,
requires a privileged print queue that excludes kids.

The final use case, kids really being allowed to print whatever they want,
can be implemented through ordinary client print mechanisms.

On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 9:55 AM, Mitch Bradley <wmb at laptop.org> wrote:

> >
> > We should not ignore the fact that OLPCs are deployed in places like
> > Birmingham and Montevideo, which have abundant access to paper and
> > printers.
> >   --scott
> >
> Well, maybe not "abundant" in all cases.  When I lived in Silicon Valley
> I had a friend who was a teacher in San Jose (CA).  He used to have to
> pay for duplication supplies out of his own pocket because the school
> didn't have the budget.  And on a teacher's salary, that wasn't easy for
> him.
> The newspapers here in Hawaii are full of articles about upcoming school
> budget cuts.
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