[clug] Linux in education

David Tulloh david at tulloh.id.au
Fri Oct 5 15:46:35 GMT 2007

Paul Wayper wrote:
> [snip]  Imagine if we also taught them to pray to a specific deity - oh,
> I'm sorry, religious schools already do that.  Er, imagine if we taught them
> to only use certain types of products - dang, companies are already doing this
> by marketing 'health packs' and 'student packs' of stuff including their own
> branded items and 'helpful notes' to buy more.  Well, that's it, our education
> system is fscked.
> [snip]  You're doing a unit on
> astronomy?  Use (thingo???)  Need everyone to give presentations?  OpenOffice
> has Impress.  Teaching the fundamentals of accounting?  Gnucash and more.
> Want to do some sound recording and editing in an A/V class?  Audacity, Kino,
> Cinelerra, etc.  There are heaps of applications for all curricula and
> requirements.
You have to teach them how to use a particular product.  A computer is a 
device for getting a task done, they teach the task and they teach a way 
of doing the task.  There's not much point doing the same task four 
times four different ways just to learn yet another piece of software, 
students can do that on their own time if that's what they want.  From a 
product education lock-in perspective it doesn't matter what tool you 
learn, that's the tool you will know.
> [snip]
> I feel that it's important to work on this on every level available.  We need
> to talk to our local schools about the software they use and offer our
> services both individually and collectively to help them use FOSS.  We need to
> get behind open source lobby groups in their dealings with federal and state
> education departments.  We need to develop and assist in developing
> educational software.  And we need to continue to use FOSS wherever we can,
> and help the children (and adults) around us to learn about it.
Cutting out the anti-MS hyperbole would probably help too, no matter how 
true you think it may be.

Put yourself in the schools position for a minute.
    You don't care about the freedom.
    You don't care about the price.
    You might care about making students 'job ready'.
    You do care about having a tool that has the programs required.
    You do care about having something that your poorly trained IT 
teacher can teach students.

I would probably be thinking very carefully before I outfitted a school 
with linux desktops.  The last point is really the kicker, I'm not sure 
how much schools spend to send teachers on training courses.  I've never 
even heard of a suitable introduction to linux course.


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