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Re: [school-discuss] what pieces of software would you demo to K-12teachers ?

On Wed, 18 Feb 2004 07:19:46 -0800
"Tim Mansfield" <tim@whyintheworld.org> wrote:

> Hi,
> If you had just a brief time in which to demo open source software to a
> bunch of K-12 teachers...

Whatever you do, plan well. Rehearse your sales pitch. Nothing kills an IT
demo faster than a disorganized, unprepared geek. I'm one of those :-)

> ...(who were new to the whole OS thing, and not necessarily convinced it
> was all that great)...

Good pitching is rather at odds with open-source geek culture. A good
pitcher has the odor of a slick corporate salesman, which geeks usually
find unpleasant. Your audience is less likely to share that attitude, and
expect a good presentation. Let your passion show.
> ...the point being to wow them with what OS could do for them, so they
> want to explore further...

"wow" is the key word here; don't expect to be able to just show them some
apps and get a chorus of wows. YOU have to wow them!
> ... what pieces of software would you demo?  (Again, just briefly, so
> they get the gist of what it does & how they'd really benefit.)

If there is time, ask them what they use now or want, and focus on that.
Having said that, what I think will be most effective in general is to
show them a nice graphical desktop, a word processor, a web browser, and a
mail client compatible with the service they already use. These are the
basic tools -- the books, pen, and paper -- that students currently use to
do research and write reports. Be sure to show them SchoolForge and
all the work being done in education. 

Emphasize how none of this software involves direct costs, so that the
school need not worry about violating license agreements. Touch ever so
lightly on the concept of free software, as this usually goes over
newcomer's heads, and that in turn alienates people.

Don't forget to pitch how these apps are immune from the viruses that
plague Windows software.

To sum up, it is not cool apps alone that will sell open-source software.
What matters most is your abiliy to show them how open-source solutions
can fulfill their needs and save them money.


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