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Re: [school-discuss] Bouncing ideas around:

Sharon Betts wrote:
The best examples come directly from the NETS website. This one for
Tools and Resources
Word-processing, database, presentation, Web page creation
We need to add:
To just have a list of opensource word-processing, database, presentation
apps. without the curriculum directed at the standards, you will not
influence the teachers in the trenches. If the example projects on NETS could all be completed using OpenSource,
that would be a great start.


Ah, now I understand, and I think this is the type of example to which Justin was referring regarding content: having OpenSource apps *and* templates for these type of projects would greatly facilitate such projects. I went through this thought process below for some content for my daughter's elementary school class, and discovered exactly what Justin and Sharon are describing: to generate content, there are several applications that have to be used, and the process is likely *not* teacher-friendly at this time. Story below, but bottom line is that I figured out how to generate public domain content using Impress, Inkscape and public domain clipart that is in .svg format. Now the question is where to post it, and whether I can jumpstart some content and get a few technology savvy teachers at our school to reproduce it, modify it, and expand it for use by less technically savvy teachers both at our school and worldwide.



Since my kid is in elementary school, I tend to focus on individual software applications as opposed to office apps with templates, but I see now that both will be required for the general case. In fact, after Sharon's note, I started to imagine using Impress (OpenSource presentation app) for younger kids who are learning sight words and to make it easy for the teachers to modify the content: put together a bunch of slides with clip art objects and text words, and on the first slide, the words are associated with the correct clip art. On the next slide, the words are on one side of the slide and the art on the other; the kids are to group the art objects with the correct words, merely by moving the objects around on the slide in edit mode. Wouldn't have the automatic grading and tracking features of many proprietary software packages, but combined with a large database of clip art, teachers could do any words they chose, and combine the exercise with more 'project' oriented activities like 'learning about places to go and things to do there'.

I did some checking and the first stumbling block was that Impress lacks the large database of clip art that M$ Powerpoint accesses via the web. There is an open clip art repository,


but the issue is that the images are in .svg format, which Impress does not yet recognize. Solution currently proposed is to use another opensource application like Inkscape:


to convert the .svg files into .png files. A laborious process, but that way, the images are in the public domain, and so the content generated using them can also be put in the public domain.

Again, there's probably specific applications that do this with a fixed base of words, and if you're more technical you could modify the data base and add images, but since most teachers I'm guessing by now can build slides in a presentation application if they had access to the content (in this case clip art geared towards sight words), this approach makes it easier, and uses open source applications and public domain content.

In the future, I'd hope that direct access to public domain clip art becomes part of open source presentation software, but until then, it's probably up to folks like us to help teachers in the process.