[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [seul-edu] High School Educational Programs

> I think we need to approach the makers of as many of the reference titles
as we
> can (Microsoft is unlikely to be receptive, but Britannica and Grolier
might be)
> and ask if we can develop open source interfaces to their material.  I
can't see
> why they wouldn't be agreeable to passing along their data formats and
APIs, as
> this would only increase the usability of their titles.

A good idea. Web based sites are all very well, but the trouble is that they
are generally subscription based. I don't think up to date information is
really much of a priority - that's what the Internet itself is best for. An
encyclopaedic reference that you pay once for that is locally accessible is
very useful.

> As for circuit design tools, for a first cut go to
> <http://sal.kachinatech.com/Z/1/> and poke around.  There are a bunch of
> And of course I have to mention gEDA <http://geda.seul.org> and FreeHDL
> <http://freehdl.seul.org> , which are hosted on SEUL.
> > I feel that for our school anything except Microsoft
> > Office is almost unthinkable, simply because of the penetration of this
> > suite into the business world - I know the main argument against any
> > migration would be that 'it's not what they'll need to know in the
> > workplace', which is, after all, what it's all about.
> Well, that's a philosophical point that we each have to deal with.  I
> think that teaching them only how one particular piece of software works
> than how the particular category (word processors, spreadsheets, etc.)
works is
> doing them a disservice.  Having an understanding of what's going on makes
> fairly easy for them to adapt to similar programs, while only knowing
which keys
> to press to do a certain task doesn't.

The trouble is it's easier to teach and to learn a 'click here and it does
this' process, so less 'motivated' teachers will be turned off. The
interfaces have to be fairly similar so that these teachers don't feel that
all they've learned is being taken away from under their feet!

> > For me right now I'd love to just be able to use WINE to run Office
> > directly. Although it would almost certainly stifle development of the
> > Linux office apps, at the moment as far as I can tell there is nothing
> > approaching Office.
> Actually, Star Office and Open Office seem to be approaching MS Office
> nicely.  In some areas (as I understand it) they're surpassing MS Office.

I tried Star Office (understand that I'm a learner here, if I make any
comments that are just plain untrue or showing a lack of understanding
please let me know!). Looks fairly feature complete, but the monolithic
design is awful. I understand this is 'fixed' in Open Office, although
there's no spell checker in OO. What does it run like on older systems? We
run Office 95 on some P133s with 16MB RAM, and it's usable.

> > > 6) manage and track what students do <--(porn sites, viruses, a.k.a.
> > > they shouldn't be looking at or doing)
> >
> > Absolutely. Fortunately you can set this sort of stuff up fairly easily,
> > although I have yet to see a Linux virus scanner...? Maybe I've just
> > looking in the wrong places.
> Go to
> That search found 19 projects.

Most of those were email scanners - are there any resident scanners like
Windows has? Or is that sort of thing not needed in the Linux world? On our
2k network, students bring in files from home, and the disks need to be
scanned before documents can be allowed on the network (in particular for
macro virii). We use resident scanners to prevent students from having to
remember to scan disks before they access files. Once again, forgive my
Linux newbie questions!

> > 1) Compatibility with current Windows reference apps - teachers like the
> > fact that they can get a reference title and it will probably work on
> > school system. Take that away and those teachers that are technically
> > 'switched on' will be quite unhappy
> This will be a problem unless most of those titles use fairly standard
> formats.  With any luck, most of the publishers are using web interfaces
for the
> data and we'll be able to address a bunch of them with one interface
> If not,  I don't know of any way to deal with this other than on a case by
> basis.
> >
> > 2) Easy to migrate *from* Windows - Assuming that schools migrate from
> > Windows environment, it's got to be pretty similar at least to start off
> > with - if you're trying to teach kids how to use computers you don't
> > the interface changing half way through the course!
> Anyone doing a major hardware or software upgrade during a semester should
> shot, in my opinion.  I say this as someone who's responsible for keeping
> university data network functional.  We _never_ make such changes during
> periods; only during breaks.

I was more thinking of upgrading say during summer holidays, but (multi
year) courses span holidays. Teaching Microsoft Access at the end of one
school year and then a Linux based app with a different interface the next
is hard. Having thought about this more, I guess you'd just have to dual
boot while the older courses finished.

' Ore stabit fortis a fine placet ore stat '
- found on a park bench
GeForce FAQ - http://www.geforcefaq.com/
ICQ: 18705430