I owe this interview to my wife, who spotted Mark at a meeting and immediately picked up that he was using Linux. She put me in touch with him and here we are with a great interview. Mark uses a lot of interesting software in a very smart way. For instance, you’ll see he uses a variety of feed readers, which is even more impressive, given that the interview took place before Google announced it was killing Google Reader. His thoughts on open sourcing curriculum development are also interesting, as is the workflow he’s developing.
- Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Mark Anderson, and I am a currently a special education ELA teacher and coordinator at a public middle school in the Bronx. I write about education matters on my blog Schools as Ecosystems as well as on GothamSchools. I am a big fan of Linux-based systems and of the open source movement. I have written about the potential that open sourcing curriculum development holds in the field of education. You can also find me on Twitter @mandercorn.
- What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
On my main laptop, my trusty old Dell Inspiron B130, I run Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. On my old Acer Aspire One netbook, I just recently switched from Ubuntu to Peppermint Linux 3, which has injected much needed speed on that machine. It has become the tool I use for writing.
I also use an Asus Transformer TF101 running EOS, to keep up with newsfeeds, and a Google Nexus smartphone. I’m looking forward to giving Ubuntu for phones a spin when it is finally released.
- What software do you depend upon with this distribution?
I do my lesson planning using Google Drive on Chrome. I’ve become pretty reliant on Google over the years, as it neatly centralizes my documents and lessons and allows me to share them easily. I originally sought to use LaTeX to open source curriculum, but found it way too technical for my abilities, so I now share my lessons for modification or reuse via Google.
I use Polly for Twitter when on my laptop, Lightread for feed reading, LibreOffice when I’m not using Google Drive, Spotify for Linux, and Dropbox to coordinate my files on my different platforms. On my netbook, I use GWoffice for writing and Chromium for browsing. On my Android tablet and phone, I use Tweetcaster, Pocket, Google Currents, Feedly, Press, and Pulse to read articles and skim for information. I like to utilize a diverse selection of feed readers because it seems like they each expose different sorts of information.
- What kind of hardware do you run it on?
I’m using a Dell Inspiron B130 and an Acer Aspire One netbook as my main productivity machines.
- What is your ideal Linux setup?
Eventually, when my old laptop finally gives up the ghost, I fantasize about getting a Dell XPS 13 and running Ubuntu on it.
- Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted January 26, 2013