Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Linux with Dumaguete Science High School

This is an excerpt from my email to the ONeLUG mailing list. Not much time to blog for now, so excuse the raw, unedited version you'll read below:

Thought I might also share what I've been doing with Dumaguete Science High. RTP-DSHS was the recipient of PCPS, or PCs for Public Schools. Very nice IBM machines, too, running Fedora Core 4 (which, incidentally, originally came from me!) But you know how it is: the machines got dumped on them with training "to follow."

So I've been spending Fridays with the teachers and the lab admin there, getting things up and running.

Summary of what I did:

1) Introduced them to KDE Edutainment package. This was a big hit among the chemistry and math teachers because of Kalzium, Kig, and Kbruch.

2) Introduced them to SLAX. The idea here was for them to be able to redistribute applications to their students. Very excited at first, but ultimately, some hitches getting it to run on other machines, esp. with X. (I fixing this with a customized SLAX CD that automatically boots to X. But later when I get back).

3) Intro do OpenOffice.org. Here is where I have a real problem. Invariably, you get comparisons with Microsoft Office. And OpenOffice.org has some quirks, enough to make it different. Still, it's an essential. But I'm thinking from now on we should teach computers without starting with Microsoft Office or OpenOffice.org.

4) Intro to Wikipedia. The PCPS machines come with a local copy of Wikipedia, without the Mediawiki component, just static HTML files. (Incidentally, I've learned how to create a local copy of Wikipedia with Mediawiki running.)

5) Got their PCPS lab connected to the Internet.

Of course, there's more work to come. I realized that this has to be a long-term commitment, that a one-day familiarization session simply will not suffice.