[NH LoCo] Manchester school outreach

Thomas A. Cantara tacantara at gmail.com
Thu May 21 00:34:58 BST 2009

Don't forget to add the cost effectiveness of OSS.  With school budgets
being cut frequently, this could provide a means to trimming budgets, or
having more money available for other necessities (i.e. art supplies,
modern textbooks, etc.)

Off topic for a second:  If you don't read the Nashua Telegraph, you
missed an interesting article on the guy who has tied up the license
plate "UNIX" in NH for a couple of decades.  Jon Hall, who lives in
Amherst, was a Unix pioneer.  Here's the link for the story:

I'm a native of Hudson, so I grew up reading the Telegraph.

-----Original Message-----
From: Arc Riley <arcriley at gmail.com>
Reply-to: Ubuntu New Hampshire LoCo Team <ubuntu-us-nh at lists.ubuntu.com>
To: Ubuntu New Hampshire LoCo Team <ubuntu-us-nh at lists.ubuntu.com>
Subject: Re: [NH LoCo] Manchester school outreach
Date: Wed, 20 May 2009 19:13:14 -0400

We don't need a background check to meet with the faculty, those things
only come into play if we were part of a program such as a computer club
or were doing work for the school.  This is just meeting with the
faculty which doesn't even need to happen at the school.

There's three schools I'm looking at specifically because they're in the
community network deployment zone, two of which are private schools.  If
we were to just go to talk to them about the network, without any real
use for them, it wouldn't be very effective.  A focus on a crossover of
two specific areas, however:
      * what can they do with Ubuntu that they cannot with Windows
      * what can they do over the community network that is infeasable
        with the Internet
I see two possible ways to get in our foot in the door - either through
the computer dept or through the art dept.

The computer depts are hit or miss.  If the person we talk to is a
Microsoft fanboy it's a non-starter, but we won't know that until we
meet with them.  Remember these schools are completely separate from
each other.

I've had some good luck with art teachers in the past with Blender,
their budgets are usually really tight and being able to setup free
modeling on workstations with distributed rendering is a huge boon.  The
community network could extend that further, allowing students to
utilize the art dept systems from home for their files and rendering.
Students being able to run the same software from home, vs even the
student discounted $1500 licenses on some 3d modeling software, is an
easy sell.

On Wed, May 20, 2009 at 6:42 PM, Broderick <employeeno5 at gmail.com>
        Come home soon Tom!
        As far as pitching to schools, there are a couple things that
        come to mind. Firstly, colleges I'm all for us talking with any
        time about any kind of use. 
        Public schools with children at them however, have extremely
        strict curricula and regulations that they have to deal with.
        Also, to be on site doing any kind of work or promotion or
        project requires by law background checks, even if we're not
        there during school hours. These are not hard to get, I've had
        them for work before, but it's important to know the setting you
        would be dealing with. Ideally, any proposal for the schools
        using these computers in the classroom needs to be brought to
        district level, not school by school or teacher by teacher. It's
        possible that one could get some teachers on board who would aid
        us in a proposal, but it would need to be district wide. 
        Another option however, is to find out if there are any computer
        science or programing clubs. We could contact those moderators
        and see if they were interested in learning more about
        incorporating Linux. Even if they didn't want to make a it
        regular thing, perhaps they would be happy to allow a
        presentation/demonstration for students about how they can start
        using Linux at home sometime. I think this is the most
        appropriate way for a community group to proceed with any
        activity at public schools.
        If we're talking about bringing Linux into school libraries,
        computer classes or offices, I think we need to approach the
        district office. At most I think the first contact point would
        be to contact a school administration and ask them if they could
        pass our name onto their computer department/teacher and tell
        them we'd be interested in seeing what they thought about more
        open source programs or education in the classroom. I think any
        pitch after that would fairly easy to put together, however, it
        may still be unconvincing given that schools are used to be sold
        things and  they don't need more problems or anything further
        complicated, particularly if they see nothing wrong with their
        current situation. Just because it could be better doesn't mean
        it's worth taking the bother or risk with something new.
        However, while they may be skeptical of some random nerds
        evangelizing about saving money and feel good ideas about
        education and freedom, they may be very open to taking seriously
        other administrators and educators. There are lots of public
        school systems around the country that use Linux. I'm sure
        getting letters, testimony, or numbers from other schools and
        districts about their success will sell better than any amount
        of well crafted rhetoric or insightful presentation we could
        give. This kind of change in something like a school system
        usually needs to come from inside the school system. If we can
        find a teacher or administrator who would already be all for
        this, then perhaps we can offer support, but other than that, I
        think our best best would be to contact people in other school
        districts that have had success. Even then though, any seasoned
        administrator won't be able to help but ask, "Why do you care?
        What's in it for you to pitch this or help with this?" While a
        passion for technology education and community service are all
        well and good one should be prepared to be greeted by skepticism
        if the authorities in question are not very tech savvy.
        On Wed, May 20, 2009 at 6:07 PM, Arc Riley <arcriley at gmail.com>
                I have a feeling this is going to be more of a two of us
                sits down with one or two of them scenario, not a
                presentation with projector.
                This is less an introduction of what Ubuntu is than a
                set of things the schools could be doing with Ubuntu, ie
                cloud computing for students, such that come Fall
                students are encouraged to use Ubuntu even if just as a
                remote terminal to their school account via virtualized
                Given the community network that's being built, a lot of
                options are opening up for high bandwidth services like
                Material on different ways schools are using Ubuntu now,
                especially with LTSP and cloud computing with Edubuntu,
                is something I think we're going to have to put together
                BTW - is anyone signed up for the Ubuntu One beta?
                On Wed, May 20, 2009 at 4:39 PM, Thomas A. Cantara
                <tacantara at gmail.com> wrote:
                        I don't know if this will help, but here are
                        some files that came with
                        my Kubuntu 9.04 CD.  If you have access to a
                        projector, the presentation
                        could be helpful.  If not, you could print it
                        and use it as a handout.
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