Sunday, April 11, 2010

open source ongoing project in classroom

One of the issues that I have to work with is budget. Just like everyone else in the world, our budget is tight! I like the challenge and we are lucky that there are many different companies that give their products to schools at reduced prices or free of charge! Of course, there is also open source software which has been around and used in different organizations for years. I am looking at beginning to use the open source software operating system Ubuntu in our classroom. Ubuntu is a form of the Linux kernel and there are many different "flavors" of the software. The interesting part of Ubuntu is that there is an add-on called Edubuntu which has all kinds of educational software added into the OS. They are broken up into 3 packages- primary, secondary, and tertiary and add all kinds of functionality to the program for a classroom. It also includes a completely free version of an office productivity suite called OpenOffice. It has a word processing program, a spreadsheet program, a presentation software program, a database program and a graphics program. I am going to be working on installing the software on to some recently donated machines and try to get them up and running into one of our classrooms where the teacher has requested she have more machines in the room then the 3 that are already there. The programs that she will need to be able to access in the classroom are all web-based or using the Office Program. The web browser is called Firefox (which is also available on the Windows side and is very popular) instead of Internet Explorer so there will be a learning curve for both myself, the teachers, and the students.
The plan right now is to get Ubuntu 9.10 (the latest "stable" version as of this post) up and running. Then I hope to add the Edubuntu add-on and get that working. From there I hope to add another piece of hardware into the mix called NComputing. This is an add-on card which allows me to break 1 machine up into multiple machines (virtual computing). According to their website, the Ncomputing software/hardware is compatible with Ubuntu. I will continue to post updates on my progress as I take the next steps. Any helpful hints or suggestions would be welcomed!

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