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Re: [seul-edu] Linux community support for education

My creation of a classroom linux word processing lab was as much hobby and
therapy as work, and I undertook it with an ourlook of obsessive stubborn
individualism.  I have, happily, been able to develop some connections to
the local Linux community over the past month or so.

We have an outstanding experimental arts space, called as220 (www.as220.org)
in Providence, which has also been doing an increasing amount of good work
in the community and with kids in particular.  I knew that some folks there
had a connection to Linux, and that they had a Linux box in their cafe, but
I didn't quite grasp the extent of it until I found my way onto a mailing
list they started in mid-December to form an organization to build a public
cluster using open source software.  Those involved include two guys who
have written for O'Reilly, some experienced sysadmins, and members of Ocean
State Freenet, who have a long history of providing free internet access in
RI, and the stunning Retro-Computing Society of Rhode Island, who collect
big old big iron (http://www.osfn.org/rcs/).

Now that I see what was in my backyard, I feel a little silly for being
introverted for so long.  I just installed slash on my server to try using
for on-line discussions in my classroom.  When I asked about using mySQL to
create some custom reports, I got from a list member not only an offer of
help, but a hyperlink to an comprehensive analysis of slashcode and similar
weblog engines he had written for a journal.  That's service.

We are still in the process of defining our mission and spitting out an
endless stream of goofy acronymic names.  We got a lead from the fsf on a
large cache of sparcs which were up for grabs in Boston, which would have
been a great way to kick start the operation, but since we barely exist as
an organization, we couldn't rent a truck, sign a lease on a space, etc.,
before they disappeared.

Nonetheless, after my self-imposed exile, it is nice to have a little
community.  I hope that now I can be a bit more forward at making proposals
for small linux projects in our school, at least because I know if I get in
over my head, I have people who can help bail me out.  I do think that it is
important for me to be an active participant in this group, with an
independently started project, so I am not just a client, not a
quasi-charity case.

I should also note that shortly after I started keeping a project diary on
advogato, (http://www.advogato.org/person/hoffman/) I got a nice e-mail from
one of the key developers of AbiWord, who noticed in my diary that I was
using that program and having a few problems, so that is another means of
community support.


on 1/10/01 12:03 PM, Doug Loss at dloss@suscom.net wrote:

> As most of you know, I write fortnightly reports on Linux in
> education.  My next report is due on Monday, and I have very little
> to write about.  For that reason I'm trying to "prime the pump" and
> generate some interesting and useful discussion.  If you can think
> of any questions you'd like to ask the list, now is the time.
> Here's my question.  We've talked before about how the Linux
> community can get involved in education through advocacy and support
> of local schools.  That was useful information for those of us who
> are primarily Linux techies but not educators.  What I'd like to
> find out is if any of us who are teachers or school administrators
> have received or tried to enlist the help of local LUGs or other
> Linux community resources in their efforts to use Linux in school.
> If so, how successful were you?  If you were dissatisfied with the
> help you received (if any), why and in what way was it lacking?  If
> you haven't tried to locate and avail yourself of local Linux
> resources, why not?  Is there anything the Linux community can or
> should do to help you in your efforts?
> I'll be on a panel dealing with Linux use in education at the
> LinuxWorld Expo in New York City in a few weeks, and your responses
> will very likely become part of what I say to the attendees.  Here's
> your chance to speak to the community!
> --
> Doug Loss                 God is a comedian playing
> Data Network Coordinator  to an audience too afraid
> Bloomsburg University     to laugh.
> dloss@bloomu.edu                Voltaire