Podcast 24 – Exploring Linux on the Desktop for K-12 #google20 #googleapps

“What can we do to save money?” This is the beginning of the story, a story of an anti-Linux user making the transition to free, open source in K-12 public schools. I suppose what is amazing part of this story is that Bill enjoyed the support of his superintendent in Harper ISD, which is unusual. Most superintendents would probably have wanted to push a more traditional operating system–with all the licensing fees that come with it–rather than jump into a free open source solution. Still, Bill did just that with his superintendent’s support. The discussion came about as a result of the GoogleApps for Education Area 20 Summit.

Linux on the Desktop makes all the more sense now, especially for school districts that are GoogleApps for Education…after all, when all your productivity apps are in the cloud, why should you spend lots of money on proprietary desktop operating systems (e.g. mac, Windows)?

Bill Long (Harper ISD) shown above discussing UberMix.org, a Linux distro for schools.
Email: blong@harper.tx.ed.net

I must confess that I wrote Bill’s name down in the Unconference slot simply because I wanted to find out more about the exciting stuff he was doing with Linux on the Desktop. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask Bill about one of my crazy ideas I had last week.

One of my ideas that I’m waiting for the right time to implement is to do a kid academy using spare, donated flat screen monitors, USB keyboards and mice, as well as the Raspberry PI.

Order it online in the U.S.

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming. You can buy the Raspberry Pi through Premier Farnell/Element 14 and RS Components (Source: FAQ)

How cool would that be to give away to students a fully working computer for about $35-$40 they could work on?

The podcast starts off slow since there are only 3 people in the room (I’m not even in there, just my digital audio recorder) but the conversation gets going when a math teacher–who’s been using Linux for over 12 years and prefers it over other operating systems–from St. Mary’s Hall private school (shown left…I didn’t get his name, unfortunately).

Show Notes:

  1. Ubermix.org – The ubermix is an all-free, specially built, Linux-based operating system designed from the ground up with the needs of education in mind. Built by educators with an eye towards student and teacher empowerment, ubermix takes all the complexity out of student devices by making them as reliable and easy-to-use as a cell phone, without sacrificing the power and capabilities of a full operating system. With a turn-key, 5 minute installation, 20 second quick recovery mechanism, and more than 60 free applications pre-installed, ubermix turns whatever hardware you have into a powerful device for learning. 
  2. Edubuntu
  3. ChromiumOS
  4. BrowserLinux.com – An extremely small, browser-based Linux distro that runs off a flash drive. The download is incredibly small; you may want to read MakeUseOf.com article on the subject.
  5. FOGProject.org – An imaging solution for variety of desktop systems, including Mac.
  6. Knoppix – KNOPPIX is a bootable Live system on CD or DVD, consisting of a representative collection of GNU/Linuxsoftware, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals.
  7. University of Dartmouth using OpenCA Live CD Knoppix derivative for teaching Math classes
  8. Virtual Bridges – 
  9. ProxMox Virtual Environment – 
  10. OpenShot Video Editor – a great, Linux-based video editor that rivals iMovie in ease of use and whips MS Moviemaker easily. I wrote about it in this blog entry.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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