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Old 02-16-2004, 12:15 PM   #1
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Mandrake, Slack, Debian and PicoBSD
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Recommend Open Source Education Software (11 - 18yrs)?


We've inherited another network . It's a UK school that has a habit of paying large amounts of $currency for badly-written programs (school = cash cow). This is partly because they don't take the time to test $shiny_bit_of_kit before paying out and partly because teachers see compatability w/ existing hardware and networks as not their problem.

I plan to crack down on this attitude (having been given veto / control of software purchases), but I was wondering if anyone out there has used open source software for education. By which I mean typing tutors, foreign language programs, science-type learning aids (they're getting OpenOffice already).

I've done preliminary research through sourceforge / freshmeat and found some interesting bits of kit (Celestia, for example), but a lot of the offerings tend to be geared to younger kids or university students.

Users being lusers, if it's not bright/shiny/works first time they'll run a mile and tell everyone they know that "we tried open source software, but it didn't work". While I could hunt them down and kill them, I'd prefer not to.

Anyone out there had success with this?



Last edited by frogman; 02-16-2004 at 12:43 PM.
Old 02-17-2004, 12:10 AM   #2
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Laguna Niguel, CA
Distribution: Mandrake 10 Official
Posts: 52

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get em all on Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory and teach them hand-eye coordination.

I am looking for educational software too and found a couple of things you may want to check out. They might not be the right fit for the age group you need, but one app has algebra exercises in it: Gcompris and Childsplay

That's all I've got for now. I have a 3 year old and I want him to learn computers and science stuff. I'm not doing the school IT thing, but good luck to you. If you can't sell them on open source when everyone has educational budget issues, they need to get very realistic very fast about how much money they can save with linux thin client systems like k12OS:
Old 02-18-2004, 02:09 PM   #3
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Registered: Dec 2003
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I am in a similar search in a similar situation and it was put on me to help spark the change.

The biggest resource i have found is and

my favorite program that I have found is WIMS, which is a web based mathematical server (its on ofset). It also covers math all the way through college.

New Albany High School
Columbus, Ohio USA
Old 02-18-2004, 02:41 PM   #4
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Denmark
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There is an interresting projekt to promote "open source" in schools it its called schoolforge
Old 02-18-2004, 04:11 PM   #5
Registered: Sep 2003
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repeater75: the kids already have a few old computers that they can use as they like, providing:

a) they remain on school property
b) _they_ fix them if they break them
c) if asked, they can provide a license (or proof that the s/ware is open source / freeware / free for educational use) - we give them win98, but they can stick Nix on them if they want.

I've already discovered one BOFH in training.

gbas_16 / lonenut: Cool, will have a look at schoolforge and

Any teachers lurking in this october forum who'd like to comment?
Old 02-18-2004, 08:15 PM   #6
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I quite like JMol for showing stick-and-ball representations of chemicals. Not particularly easy to use (IMO) so I don't think this is going to be a student-centred thing. Perhaps use it with Y10/Y11 students to show how the molecules should look - and it's got to be cheaper than the Science dept buying those model sets - they're bloody expensive! It is a Java programme, but it is Open.

Hope this helps.


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