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Re: [school-discuss] math/science Linux desktop - The Achilles Heel

Daniel Howard wrote:
Yeah, William and I were discussing that over lunch after our meeting. We mused that it will be great when enough big districts like Atlanta Public Schools have Linux deployed everywhere and tell the book publishers that they want Linux versions of textbook support software...
You can also work with your DOE to develop continuing education classes. Many teachers need these credits, and it is easy to develop simple courses which will show teachers how to integrate FOSS tools into their lesson plans.

In the meantime, I think my eParent model will have to suffice: William and I provided much of the initial training of our teachers at Brandon, and then I formed a new PTA committee called the eParents so we could get parents to help out in learning new software and showing teachers how to use it. I'll try to assemble a cadre of technology-savvy parents from this high school, burn some live CDs they can use at home, and have each of them help. But I have to say these teachers today looked really motivated to learn this stuff.
We have found that there are always parents and community members willing to assist. Start to engage them with an Edubuntu live CD. Just as there are plenty of developers wiling to code for FOSS projects, there are plenty of people wanting to learn about FOSS while helping their school. We've been able to facilitate an ever-growing number of computer labs in Hawaii's DOE, starting over 5 years ago, with community support like this. What seems to work well is

a. Get the principal's approval
b. Become a friend, not a threat, to the current computer person on campus, if she/he exists
c. Find a community member near the school to be a point person

You know Les, that's a really good point: there's probably a growing market now for software trainers that specialize in Open Source educational packages. Since Open Source schools are no longer spending that money on licenses, maybe now they can actually afford to hire a trainer to come in... a
This is how HOSEF does it. If you want a free computer lab, and you have the space and the will, we can provide it. If you want support, you can come see us for free on Saturdays when we do our workshops, you can write our mailing lists, or you can just ask someone - all for free. If you want support and training on your time and schedule, then you can buy a support contract from us. This is working marvelously.

On another note, we are growing our focus here in Hawaii to include our City and County parks. Hawaii has parks and recreation centers everywhere on Oahu, and HOSEF is working with the city to get Free wireless and computers into all of the parks. Needless to say, the wireless firewall/filters are FOSS based as are our workstations. All the hardware is previously discarded but still quite functional (in the right hands)


R. Scott Belford
Founder/Executive Director
The Hawaii Open Source Education Foundation
P.O. Box 2644
Ewa Beach, HI 96707
808.689.6518 phone/fax