[clug] Linux in education
sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Sat Oct 6 01:14:50 GMT 2007
Paul Wayper wrote on 5/10/07 11:14 PM:
> It is an incredible waste. It's also an incredible situation to have
> schoolchildren educated to use specific software in classrooms funded by
> taxpayers. <snip>
> I think the best advantage that FOSS offers for education is that
> everyone can
> use the same software without any cost at all. <snip>
> I feel that it's important to work on this on every level available.
> And we need to continue to use FOSS wherever we can,
> and help the children (and adults) around us to learn about it.
> Have fun,
Good analysis, good call to action. Love all your contributions over
Here are two questions. If our collective minds come up with great
answers to these, we have a way forward.
BTW: The Public and Private School systems don't run by the same rules.
The answers & approaches are very likely to be different...
1. What's the overwhelming reason to use F/OSS?
- Not "MS is Evil"
- nor the ideological inverse, "Free is Good, Everything else is Bad"
- tangible, demonstrable benefits that address felt needs...
- e.g. quality, control, flexibility, guaranteed support,
portability, availability, ...
2. What are the "Killer Apps" or Needs for *classroom teachers*?
- Hint: We know it is not money!
- Teachers are the ultimate gatekeepers here.
- It comes down to What Gets Used - every day...
- Do computers help or hinder the education process??
[A: Not helpful *yet*]
For (public) teachers and Schools, "computer stuff" is a Free Good.
Costs them nothing.
Because the Education Dept. supplies it all... And MS can afford to
negotiate site licenses.
Conversion costs - including User & IT staff training - dominate the
Dedicated teachers are already overloaded... Others don't care :-)
Learning computers inside & out is expensive in *time*.
This is a strong disincentive to learn anything new that doesn't Add
On Computer Aided Instruction:
Computers in the Classroom are nice but not essential.
I'm not aware of *any* computer based teaching that beats
=> caveat: I'm not expert in the field, but have asked teachers what
would work for them.
Maybe e-mail, wiki's and Google are non-replaceable...
On Administrative Tools
Teachers spend huge gobs of time reading, marking & doing admin tasks.
For those used to good Helpdesk/Task tracking systems, very wasteful.
And finding good answers to questions - Not on IT supports' KPI's!
Even something as easy and essential as staffing - covering absences...
I'm sure there are some other dimensions to this... Would love to hear
Hope this is useful...
Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA
sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin
More information about the linux