Fwd: Edubuntu Feisty

Scott Ledyard scott at redboot.biz
Thu Mar 29 12:58:31 BST 2007

> On 3/28/07, Uwe Geercken < uwe.geercken at datamelt.com> wrote:
> there are also other things that are in the way to implement linux.
> currently we in germany are still trying to equip a lot of schools that
> have
> been left out in the past for various reasons. as economy is on its way
> up, in
> many places money is made available to buy computers for the schools.
> suddenly, money is not a (prime) issue. it is important to be up-to-date
> (poor
> results of the educational system add to this) and the local politicians
> want
> to have their showcases. and the question they ask is: "how many
> computers,
> printers, etc?" ok that makes lets say 40000 bucks. our local school e.g.
> has
> been extended for a million and in the same go they equipped the computer
> room:
> 20 brandnew computers with windows, office, printers, switches and
> kabeling.
> that was just a small bit.

Sad. Somehow I'd thought that Microsoft was only so dominant in the US.

> my argument with the teachers was:
> - teach them linux and windows. later the kids can decide on their own
> depending
> on where they work and what they work on
> - if they know linux, it is easier to adopt to windows, then the other way
> around
> - give them something interesting (which windows not is). all those issues
> like
> violence is in many cases caused by the fact that the kids don't have
> anything
> to do and no place to go to. although this is not an issue in my town, I
> say:
> give them something to do that they like, using the computer.
> - unlike the current generation, kids should understand what is inside the
> computer. harddisk, slots, memory, etc. they should know what that is and
> how
> it works.
> - you can easily combine the lessons in math, chemics, languages, etc with
> the
> computer. the kids can do something useful and waste their energy. or you
> can
> integrate the computer in school projects.

I totally agree. The above points are made in an  EXCELLENT  podcast by Mike
Huffman and Laura Taylor in an interview by Steve Hargadon at
http://educationbridges.net/k12opensource/?p=8. They discuss the state of
Indiana's inAccess program. The "A" stands for affordable. Schools get
government money to buy computers but only if they run Linux on them. Some
interesting quotes: "The word "Linux" never comes up." Teachers only care
that each student gets their own computer that can support the curriculum.

teachers are by the way a big problem. they have in general no understanding
> of computers, they don't know what possibilities there are and they do not
> have
> a lot of time to educate themselves. I believe teachers need to be in the
> boat
> as well. that is important.
> ok. this is all for the moment. a mixture of hope, entusiasm and
> resignation is
> the best description of how I feel when I discus with them. but I know it
> takes
> time and so I don't give up.

Yes, please be patient with them. As a teacher, I must add that each year,
teachers are asked to jump in a new "boat", that is a new learning system or
behavior management program and they natually get pretty cynical about it.
But when teachers see something that works *reliably* they will use it.

what I see here in
europe is that the kids nowadays grow up with at least three languages:
englisch and then the language of e.g. a spanish father, an italian or
mother just to name some. in school they usually learn englisch and french
englisch and spanish.

As an aside, this is such a strength for the kids of Europe. Foreign
languages typically aren't introduced here in the U.S. until 9th grade.
Having started to learn Spanish in my 40's, all I can say is it's muy

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