In Praise of Edubuntu

by chromatic

Want to build a new generation of free software users? Support projects such as Edubuntu.


9 Comments

Jay
2006-12-15 06:46:43
I followed your lead and downloaded/installed Edubuntu.
I agree with the ease and nice suite of educational software.


Question: Did your brother tweek anything to have it run on the older mahcine?

Caitlyn Martin
2006-12-15 11:03:43
I have to agree with your praise for Edubuntu and projects like KDE Edu. The potential as development continues may well be unlimited.
Brad
2006-12-19 09:00:20
As we shop for schools for our children, one question is if the children are given computer time. If they are, it is a strike against that school, because I see computer usage for young children as, at best, cognitively unimportant. So I'm disappointed to learn that there are Linux distributions aimed at educational settings.
chromatic
2006-12-19 11:19:22
@Brad, that's an interesting point. I first encountered computers in schools myself, and I think of it as generally positive, but I certainly spent a lot more time on other projects, thanks to lesson plans and such.


However, my example is from an afterschool program. The children there do homework, have a healthy snack, and have supervised play time. I'm not sure what the drawbacks are to providing educational software there, unless all access to computers for elementary school students is, at best, unimportant.

Brad
2006-12-19 21:00:43
I was introduced to computers at about age 10 at school too (in La Grande), a nice Commodore PET, and one of the first things we did was learn to print "Hello!" ten times in a row. Learning to program is educational, so maybe the ultimate educational software is an interpreter. Much of the rest is called "edutainment" software for good reason, children are fascinated by it in the same way as they are by games. This is a big, controversial topic, I just thought I'd throw in my two cents, and I wasn't focusing on your sister-in-law's afterschool program, but on the notion implicit in these distributions that this kind of software would be a healthy addition to an elementary (or kindergarten!) program -- this needs to be carefully considered, as do all educational issues. Anyway if I've offended you, come down to Old Town and I'll buy you lunch to apologize, you like dim sum?
Brett
2006-12-20 09:57:38
The only tweaking I did was to add 256 MB RAM to the 64 MB it originally included, and I salvaged that from another old computer. Originally, this eMachine ran Windows 98, and of course after 5+ years the installation was pretty fouled up and the original CDs were long lost.


To be fair, the installation took a couple of hours to fine tune (I elected to set KDE as the primary interface and install the kde-edu suite), and I had to plug in a USB ethernet adapter on my home network to install the packages that weren't included on the Edubuntu CD. All in all, though, it went surprisingly well and runs great on that little machine.


The big advantages were:
1) Runs (and runs well) on old hardware.
2) No cost for the OS or any of the software.
3) Surprisingly good educational software -- it's interesting to compare software developed by parents to commercial software.
4) It was an easy way to demonstrate the feasibility of free software with only the cost of my donated time -- and with some newer donated systems that will arrive in January I can quickly replicate the installation.
5) Security -- As a true multi-user system, we can restrict what the kids can do by using separate accounts.
6) Reliability -- If the kids' account gets trashed, I can just delete it and re-create it without having to reinstall anything.

chromatic
2006-12-20 16:14:18
@Brad, thanks for the clarification. If my teachers had allowed me, I would have spent all of my class time playing (or slightly better, making) games. That would have been a shame.


I do agree that putting even Edubuntu in the classroom needs very careful consideration, but I highly recommend it as a monitored resource in addition to formal education.

richm
2007-02-12 21:08:44
I think the a new generation of people who openly accept and use open source software will in the long run benefit education as a whole. Right now with the big guns of Microsoft and MAC out there, little is being done to truly help education. I have been working with the Edubuntu OS for a short time but I am seeing the potential that my school may have for it at almost every level.


I am currently working on getting a SLIM environment set up to run on a bunch of old machines we had donated over the years. I am hoping that the network will give me a good idea of what resources would be necessary to get this environment going. After having a few of my students use the software that came with Edubuntu, the potential is only limited by what we are willing to put into the system.

Cris
2008-05-31 19:59:40
I just received my ubuntu free cd, Guys it's for real, totally free!
I am very happy indeed. All the people behind it Mabuhay! Thank you!