Saturday, August 12, 2006

Linux Friday at Dumaguete Science High

Yesterday was Linux Friday as I gave a short introductory session on Ubuntu to Diane Pool of One Candle Schoolhouse, her two IT assistants, Ian and Loida, and Vic Jauculan of Dumaguete Science High School.

It was a pleasant bit of serendipity, actually. Last week, I promised to take Diane and her people through Ubuntu. Apparently, they have a stronger interest now that they have more computers and are more sensitive to licensing issues. This week, Injong Fortunato of DTI told me that they had turned over computers under the PCs for Public Schools (PCPS) to Dumaguete Science High School.

What to do? Well, put the two together, of course.

I promptly introduced myself to Vic, the IT lab administrator of Dumaguete Science High, and offered sessions on Linux. Vic was quite receptive to the idea and now it looks like all my Fridays until the middle of September are already booked.

The PCPS machines deserve a bit of comment: they're all running Fedora Core. I suspect I might even have been the source for those CDs as I burned a set for the implementing organization some months ago. Standard KDE desktop, but the implementors were nice enough to include a stripped-down version of Encyclopedia Britannica (accessed through a Java application) and a local copy of the Wikipedia.

I'm a little surprised, though, that the PCs were handed over without any training to the schools. Vic said he had gone through some Linux classes some months back, but too long ago for him to remember the specifics.

Yesterday's session was purely introductory. I popped in the Dapper Drake live CD and took them through the basics: accessing applications from the menu, OpenOffice.org, exporting to PDF, locating work files in the home folder and desktop, and saving to USB memory devices. That approach gave me a renewed appreciation for Ubuntu's simple user interface, something I already take for granted. It really does help novice users manuever much more quickly.

At the same time, the session also brought into relief the usual issues that I face when running introductory lessons like this. Questions pertaining to system administration -- adding new software, networking, and dual-booting -- usually crop up. This is from students who already have some experience with Windows. It gets a little troublesome, actually, because it diverts attention from what I want them to focus on, which is the end-user experience.

Overall, though, the folks were very happy with the stuff that I took them through. Diane was positively giddy over the drawing functions of OpenOffice.org and ecstatic about the Gimp. Vic was quite impressed with the science teaching software like Kalzium and Kig. Looks like I'll be doing more sessions with them.

9 comments:

  1. oh man, did I mention to you I graduated in the pioneer class of Dumaguete Science High? :) It's good that they have computers now. When I was there we didn't have our own labs...

    I wonder if they're still using the school logo I designed way back when.

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  2. the teachers training will come starting October 2006 and will be handled by STI. The Deped project is still on the deployment stage, as of the moment we just passed the 50% mark (that is around 6,000 units) delivered and installed. We hope to complete deployment by late August or early September 2006.

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  3. hey Dom. I graduated from Dumaguete Science High too. 7th and last batch of Dumaguete Science High before they became a Regional Science High School. As with Chaz, we didn't have labs back then too, but we got by. I remember we were given computer labs, but in less than a year, it burned down. :-(

    Thanks for helping out over there. My siblings are also alumni of the school, and my youngest sister is still a sophomore there. :-)

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  4. Hi, Chaz: I'll check this Friday if the logo is still in use.

    Hi, Ricky: thanks for the info. Let me know how I can help.

    Hi, Tsinkoy: thanks, too. Burned down, huh? Gosh, that's so sad.

    I'll say hi to your sis when I go there.

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  5. What Ubuntu version did you teach? 5.1?

    I have ubuntu up and running on another pc and the only problem was connecting to the internet.

    How about some quick tips?

    Thanks.

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  6. mar john

    hi i'm batch 2004. chaz, do you still have the copy of the old logo, i think they are still using logo, the one with the 1987 date at the bottom..

    --on purpose!--

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  7. tsinkoy, bok? kaw na?

    mar john diay ni...



    --on purpose!--

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  8. ohh.. that's nice.. it's alarming to know that mr. jau is already an IT Lab Administrator.. hope he does well..

    and yeah.. they're still using the old logo.. and i think they shouldn't change it..

    hi marj!

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