[clug] Linux on new school computers [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Andrew Janke a.janke at gmail.com
Tue Nov 27 01:41:32 GMT 2007

> Just saw this in today's paper. Perhaps FOSS should at least be an
> option on the desktops provided by the government.
> http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22827306-601,00.html

#include <my-own-biased-view.h>

Aye, most interesting.  Although from speaking to any teacher that I
know (including my significant other) I would doubt that merely adding
computers is going to make for better education. This I know is a
political question. What I do know from working in schools on
computers and the likes is that schools (well at least the public ones
I have dealt with) and school teachers

   * Have precious little IT support  -- this often means that the
computers are dead for days/weeks at a time

   * Are well and truly vendor locked WRT software and hardware. I
have been in schools where the commerce
       teachers have a private kitty that they buy computers and
software from to avoid the School policy.

   * Are generally far outpaced by the students in terms of dealing
with the technology

What this means is that most computers are generally used for
my-face-space-book-world and email to their buddies in the next
classroom. The schools try to implement blocking and firewalls to stop
this, but the kids are already way ahead as they have been practising
getting around these at home for years.

Linux + OO/Abiwork/gnumeric _may_ be an answer to this if only because
the kids will have no idea how to "find the internet explorer button".
What I find most amusing from my own kids is to try to get a handle on
what kids think computers do.  My 4 year old for example wants to
"cross"^ his games and get another. (yes he uses linux)

What I do think would gain penetration is schools however would be to
provide stripped down versions of software as a starter, not linux but
a "kids OO/Abiword" I know these exist and teachers would love (and
use) them.

Of course this is all my own biased view of the situation but I
certainly would agree that installing linux on all of them (unless it
is some well sorted stripped down education distro) will only bring
pain/discredit to the linux community as it is now. For now I suspect
that XP + FOSS apps would work well.


^ Cross == close button.

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