LinuxQuestions.org
Latest LQ Deal: Linux Power User Bundle
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Password
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 02-12-2009, 06:24 PM   #1
ylian10017
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Feb 2009
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 10

Rep: Reputation: 0
Smile Which distro shoud I use?


I am a school admnistrator. Can anybody help me figure out which one of the distros available is more suitable for work in the classroom. I am running a K-6 Elementary School. Computers in the classroom are use mostly to run educational programs bought at school supplies stores, and to tech our students how to navigate online and how to use application software found in MS office 2003 (Word, Power Point and Excel). Want to migrate to Linux, since the cost to acquire MS OS and MS Office software is too expensive for the school. All your help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Last edited by ylian10017; 02-12-2009 at 06:26 PM. Reason: misspeled words
 
Old 02-12-2009, 06:28 PM   #2
sycamorex
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: London
Distribution: Slackware64-current
Posts: 5,819
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200
Almost any distro would do, but you could try edubuntu.

Also try www.distrowatch.com for a list (and a short characteristics) of linux distibutions.
 
Old 02-12-2009, 06:33 PM   #3
MS3FGX
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: NJ, USA
Distribution: Slackware, Debian
Posts: 5,852

Rep: Reputation: 356Reputation: 356Reputation: 356Reputation: 356
Well while I think Linux in the classroom is great, I don't really see how this is going to work out.

If you goal is to teach children how to operate MS Office and to run commercial educational software, it sounds like Linux is the polar opposite of what you want.

You could use OpenOffice in place of MS Office, but they are different and learning one doesn't necessarily mean you will know how to use the other efficiently. While I would love to see young children using OpenOffice in schools, I am not sure that an OO-centric education is going to help them much when they move onto high school and all the computers have MS Office installed.

As for commercial educational software, you can try and run it under WINE but that may or may not work. It doesn't hurt to try of course, but you might find that the compatibility simply isn't what you need.

It seems more rational to simply look into educational discounts for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office if you intend to keep the current curriculum. If you have the flexibility to move away from both MS Office and the Windows-based educational software, than you might be able to work something out with alternative software.

Last edited by MS3FGX; 02-12-2009 at 06:34 PM.
 
Old 02-12-2009, 06:40 PM   #4
sycamorex
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: London
Distribution: Slackware64-current
Posts: 5,819
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200
Well, Since you say that the school can't afford to pay for MS Office software, I understood that you want to use open source equivalents, eg. OpenOffice word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software. If want to use MS office packages under linux, as it has been mentioned by ms3fgx, you can try a program called 'wine', but you'll still have to pay for MS Office licences.
 
Old 02-12-2009, 06:54 PM   #5
servat78
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2009
Posts: 100

Rep: Reputation: 17
For a school environment you should make sure that the distribution has complete support for your language and keyboard mappings. The major distributions (Fedora, Suse, Ubuntu, Debian, etc) shouldn't cause problems here. Niche distributions need some tweaking to support languages and keyboards. Base your decision on language support - installing software packages is usually not a big deal. Make sure that the distro has an easy update/upgrade path to minimize maintenance efforts.

There are several attempts for distributions specifically for education, but some of these are tied to certain languages (UHU Linux is rather difficult for non-hungarians), and you will have to decide if the needed efforts for localization and maintenance is worth the time spent on such technical issues.

The KDE developers have a lot applications in their edutainment package that you can use for class room activities. For Office-related tasks OpenOffice or KOffice will serve perfect. There are many language learning tools (Kanatest, KVocTrain), bibliographic support (Alexandria, Tellico), etc.

Debian

Last edited by servat78; 02-19-2009 at 12:19 PM.
 
Old 02-12-2009, 06:56 PM   #6
cloud9repo
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2008
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 134

Rep: Reputation: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sycamorex View Post
Almost any distro would do, but you could try edubuntu.

Also try www.distrowatch.com for a list (and a short characteristics) of linux distibutions.
Yeah, I second Edubuntu, and Kubuntu is good, also.

Ubuntu and its derivatives tend to have a little more support, and are the number one distro right now.

If I were you, I'd contact them. They do a lot of charity work, and have tons of staff that might help you facilitate this.

The main site is http://www.ubuntu.com/
 
Old 02-12-2009, 07:21 PM   #7
jschiwal
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Aug 2001
Location: Fargo, ND
Distribution: SuSE AMD64
Posts: 15,733

Rep: Reputation: 671Reputation: 671Reputation: 671Reputation: 671Reputation: 671Reputation: 671
By the time children in the 5th or 6th grade graduation, MS Office might not even be around. If it is, it won't resemble what it is today. The IBM PC came out just before I graduated from college. You would use Word Perfect (where is it now) and later Lotus123 was the application you had to know. Where are they now?

IMHO, teaching young children to use MS Office instead of giving them general skills would be a waste of time and money. The skills they would learn using Open Office will carry over to whatever is the prevalent software when they enter the workforce. It may be web based by the time they reach High School. For younger children, Open Office and Office may be too complex. A simpler word processor would probably be more suitable for them.

I think it may be better transitioning in stages. Start by adopting Open Source software that is available in Windows & Linux. For example, use Firefox, Open Office, the Gimp. Web based courseware such as Muddle. That will make transitioning the OS running the apps a lot easier for the teachers. The children won't have problems adjusting. It's the teachers that may grumble. It would be a good idea to keep them in the loop so they don't find out about the changes when coming back to school in the fall. You might even want to supply them with live distro's to look at so they can play with them on their own.

Also, look on the web for articles about schools that have made the transition. You will be able to learn from their experience.

This presentation might provide some background information:
http://ri-iste.org/files/linux_presentation_2005nov.pdf

More details on K12 Educational Commons:
http://k12edcom.org/

Good Luck!

Last edited by jschiwal; 02-12-2009 at 07:25 PM.
 
Old 02-12-2009, 07:30 PM   #8
sycamorex
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: London
Distribution: Slackware64-current
Posts: 5,819
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200Reputation: 1200
An increasing number of schools are migrating to open source software. I doesn't necessarily mean open source OS in all cases, sometimes it's just particular software (firefox, gimp, openoffice, etc). I guess in the times of recession, it's going to be an increasing phenomenon.
 
Old 02-12-2009, 08:25 PM   #9
ylian10017
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Feb 2009
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 10

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Thank You.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sycamorex View Post
Almost any distro would do, but you could try edubuntu.

Also try www.distrowatch.com for a list (and a short characteristics) of linux distibutions.
-------------------------------------------------------------


Thanks for the information. I will check it out.

Greetings from PR (USA).
 
Old 02-12-2009, 08:52 PM   #10
ylian10017
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Feb 2009
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 10

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by ms3fgx View Post
well while i think linux in the classroom is great, i don't really see how this is going to work out.

That is what i am trying to find out. If i can use the linux os instead of ms os, and compatible apps, to run the educational software programs available in the market for math, science, social studies, language, heath education and so forth.

If you goal is to teach children how to operate ms office and to run commercial educational software, it sounds like linux is the polar opposite of what you want.

My goal in the long range is to expose children to the technology. But i have to do it , in the most cost effective way. Right now i got around 120 computers in school. Some of them are pentium 11, 111, and 4. Reason, the state require that when we admnistrators buy computers, they got to be pentium _____ (the number up to date at the moment).

You could use openoffice in place of ms office, but they are different and learning one doesn't necessarily mean you will know how to use the other efficiently. While i would love to see young children using openoffice in schools, i am not sure that an oo-centric education is going to help them much when they move onto high school and all the computers have ms office installed.

The main objective is to expose students to an authentic experience on how to operate computers. Once they master the basic of computers operation, they are natural with technology and they discover on their own what they want to learn from the computer world.(music, graphics, programming, web networking, etc).

As for commercial educational software, you can try and run it under wine but that may or may not work. It doesn't hurt to try of course, but you might find that the compatibility simply isn't what you need.

Thanks for the info. I will try it out.

It seems more rational to simply look into educational discounts for microsoft windows and microsoft office if you intend to keep the current curriculum. If you have the flexibility to move away from both ms office and the windows-based educational software, than you might be able to work something out with alternative software.
my school is locate in the coutry side in the island of puerto rico. Even though we are not a very poor country, we aren't a rich one either. That means we have to make a lot, we a little. And that's what i am tryng to do. Looking for a way to provide my kids, with the real experience, on how to work with computers, in an economical way for the school, making the most with the budget i receive from the state.

Thanks for your interest in answering my message. Additional recomendations will be very well and kindly accepted.

Greetings
from puerto rico.
 
Old 02-12-2009, 09:01 PM   #11
dv502
Member
 
Registered: Sep 2006
Location: USA - NYC
Distribution: Whatever icon you see!
Posts: 642

Rep: Reputation: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ylian10017 View Post
I am a school admnistrator. Can anybody help me figure out which one of the distros available is more suitable for work in the classroom. I am running a K-6 Elementary School. Computers in the classroom are use mostly to run educational programs bought at school supplies stores, and to tech our students how to navigate online and how to use application software found in MS office 2003 (Word, Power Point and Excel). Want to migrate to Linux, since the cost to acquire MS OS and MS Office software is too expensive for the school. All your help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
You can use something like these:
http://k12ltsp.org
https://fedorahosted.org/k12linux/

This allows you to centralized all users and applications on one server. This makes it easier for the sysadmin to install, upgrade and maintain one system.

- Cheers

Last edited by dv502; 02-12-2009 at 09:35 PM.
 
Old 02-12-2009, 09:25 PM   #12
thorkelljarl
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,788

Rep: Reputation: 211Reputation: 211Reputation: 211
Another note

There are two major desktops used in linux, that is there are two graphical presentations for linux to the user, KDE and Gnome. Several of the well established and popular distributions come with both.

You might try downloading and burning several different live-cds and using them to interest your students and to see what they find appealing. They can change their appearance, play around with them, and take them home, that is if the small price of the CD disks isn't a obstacle.

Ubuntu is the distribution with the largest user base at the moment, but other possibilities might be openSUSE, Fedora, or Debian, all solid choices. Here is the standard live-cd list.

http://www.livecdlist.com/

There are many, including useful CDs for partitioning and rescue. Good Luck with the project.
 
Old 02-13-2009, 12:21 PM   #13
salasi
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jul 2007
Location: Directly above centre of the earth, UK
Distribution: SuSE, plus some hopping
Posts: 4,059

Rep: Reputation: 883Reputation: 883Reputation: 883Reputation: 883Reputation: 883Reputation: 883Reputation: 883
Quote:
Originally Posted by ylian10017 View Post
Want to migrate to Linux, since the cost to acquire MS OS and MS Office software is too expensive for the school.
Here, there are often problems with parents saying 'but you aren't training our kids on the industry standard software'. You may not have that problem, but the answer is that it isn't training, but education and, as jschiwal said, the software that will use will change many times over their working life, so they need to know how to learn new software more than they need to be able to use the current version of anything.
 
Old 02-14-2009, 08:13 PM   #14
ylian10017
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Feb 2009
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 10

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
What I am looking for is a Linux OS that mimics XP windows and which on which I can use all type of commercial educational programs. Is that possible?

My goal in the long range is to expose children to the technology. But i have to do it , in the most cost effective way. Right now i got around 120 computers in school. Some of them are pentium 11, 111, and 4. Reason, the state require that when we admnistrators buy computers, they got to be pentium __?___ (the number for pentium is the one up to date, at actual moment).


The main objective is to expose students to an authentic experience on how to operate computers using available apps for Linux, and the educational programs available in the market. Once they master the basic of computers operation, they are natural with technology and they discover on their own what they want to learn from the computer world.(music, graphics, programming, web networking, etc).


Thanks for the info. All suggestions and recommendations are very well welcomed.
 
Old 02-14-2009, 09:04 PM   #15
ylian10017
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Feb 2009
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 10

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Smile Hi jschiwal. Thanks for your reply.

"By the time children in the 5th or 6th grade graduation, MS Office might not even be around. If it is, it won't resemble what it is today. The IBM PC came out just before I graduated from college. You would use Word Perfect (where is it now) and later Lotus123 was the application you had to know. Where are they now?"

Ylian10017- I understand your preoccupation, but the main thing I am looking for is to be able to get affordable software (OS and Apps), to install in the school computers, and to make these programs accessible for the students to manipulate, experiment, and work with it.

"IMHO, teaching young children to use MS Office instead of giving them general skills would be a waste of time and money. The skills they would learn using Open Office will carry over to whatever is the prevalent software when they enter the workforce. It may be web based by the time they reach High School. For younger children, Open Office and Office may be too complex. A simpler word processor would probably be more suitable for them."

Ylian10017- Teaching children general or specific skills is never a waste of time. Remember that the children of today will be the adults of tomorrow, and if we provide them with the best learning environment possible, if we put the right seed in the their mind and soul, that seed will germinate in something good for themselves, their family, their neighborhood, their town/city, their country and finally, to their home big home earth, our home and humanity as a whole.

There is a story in the USA, of this mexican inmigrant who found his way up through education. He got the opportunity to better himself going to school (elementary, secondary and finally he went to the university). Today he is the number one surgeon and brain research scientist, in the United States of America., and he is helping all type of persons (white, black, brown, yellow, women, children, elderly, etc) who are very sick and see in him a hope to their physical ailing.

"I think it may be better transitioning in stages. Start by adopting Open Source software that is available in Windows & Linux. For example, use Firefox, Open Office, the Gimp. Web based courseware such as Muddle. That will make transitioning the OS running the apps a lot easier for the teachers. The children won't have problems adjusting."

Yliam10017- Thanks for your recommendations. You know, I don't worry too much about how the kids are going to interrelates with the new programs they will be using in the classroom, b'cause technology for them is something very natural. Once they get expose to the new software, they start experimenting with it, and they figure out how X or Y program function. It just flow in them. My main worry is to find the right computer software programs for them to use in the classroom. And to be able to make all available commercial programs work with the Linux OS.

"It's the teachers that may grumble. It would be a good idea to keep them in the loop so they don't find out about the changes when coming back to school in the fall. You might even want to supply them with live distro's to look at so they can play with them on their own."

That's a good idea. I will keep it in mind and will put it in practice. I know once I start migrating from Windows to Linux, I will have to invest time and some resources on how to provide training to my teachers on how to operate the Linux OS and software. I know this is a process and it will take time. But I already took the decision, that I got to start this learning process, now, if tomorrow, someday from now, I want to look back and rejoice and feel good, for all the road I have already walked. That's the way it was for me, when I decided to learn computer repair.

The first time I opened up a computer tower, I didn't even dare to disconnect a cable inside the computer case. Now is completely different. Now, even though I am not an expert in computer repair, I am the computer repair man in my school and my teachers don't have to wait for a computer technician to get down from the education department headquarters, and show up at school, six months after they put the request for a repair to one of their computers. I have come a long way and feel very proud of it. I intend to do the same thing with the Linux world. It is like I say it: If somebody else learned, how to work with the linux programs (OS and Apps), well, if they could do it, I can do it too, because maybe I am not better than them, but, I am not worst than them either. Right.

"Also, look on the web for articles about schools that have made the transition. You will be able to learn from their experience."

Can you help me in the search, looking for these schools which already got the experience migrating from windows to linux. Will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for writing back. It was a pleasure writing back to you. Take care and have a great day, and an exciting week.

Greetings from
Puerto Rico.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
shoud i update the kernel bease of the CVE-2008-2358? dreamhat Linux - Newbie 1 07-04-2008 10:33 AM
why shoud linux not be hard shutdown? DrGnome Linux - Software 4 04-17-2004 03:07 PM
trash can icon is not acting the way it shoud abbasakhtar Linux - Newbie 34 10-06-2003 09:55 PM
Resolution for 19 inch monitor shoud be ...? mikeshn Linux - Hardware 3 02-11-2003 05:57 AM
What ethernet card shoud I buy? dsflash Linux - Networking 2 08-15-2001 11:53 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:07 PM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration