Open Week -- Ubuntu in Education -- highvoltage -- Thu, Oct 14

   1 [18:00]  * highvoltage taps mic... is this thing on?
   2 [18:00] <highvoltage> ah, great :)
   3 [18:00] <highvoltage> hi everyone! welcome to the Ubuntu in Education openweek session
   4 [18:00] <highvoltage> I'll be standing in for Belinda Lopez, who you may know as "dinda" on IRC
   5 === ChanServ changed the topic of #ubuntu-classroom to: Welcome to the Ubuntu Classroom - https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Classroom || Support in #ubuntu || Upcoming Schedule: http://is.gd/8rtIi || Questions in #ubuntu-classroom-chat || UOW Survey: http://is.gd/fZlwL || Event: Ubuntu Open Week - Current Session: Ubuntu in Education - Instructors: highvoltage
   6 [18:01] <ClassBot> Logs for this session will be available at http://irclogs.ubuntu.com/2010/10/14/%23ubuntu-classroom.html following the conclusion of the session.
   7 [18:01] <highvoltage> she's out spreading the Ubuntu word to educational institutions in Malaysia
   8 [18:02] <highvoltage> so she wasn't able to present this specific session.
   9 [18:02] <highvoltage> So, what is Ubuntu in Education? What is Edubuntu? What's the difference and why should anyone care?
  10 === luis__lopez is now known as luis_lopez
  11 [18:03] <highvoltage> I'm going to attempt to answer these questions today, and also your answers as asked in #ubuntu-classroon-chat
  12 [18:03] <highvoltage> I haven't prepared much for this session, so if we run out of questions we'll just finish early and have some cake and tea :)
  13 [18:04] <highvoltage> I thought it might be a good idea to provide some background on myself and where I come from, maybe it will be easier to relate the information if I do that
  14 [18:04] <highvoltage> a few years ago, I planned to get some old computers into schools to teach kids basic Linux administration and maybe even some python and scripting
  15 [18:04] <highvoltage> I posted to the local linux users group and got in touch with a non-profit which was gearing up to also receive large amounts of donated computers and provide them to schools
  16 [18:05] <highvoltage> long story short, I ended up contracting and later on working for that non-profit, and we ended up installing more than 300 computer labs in South Africa
  17 [18:05] <highvoltage> they ran LTSP so it was quite easy and fast to set up, and also to educate teachers on how to set up everything themselves
  18 [18:06] <highvoltage> on some special occasion days (like Youth Day in South Africa), we managed to even set up 10 computer labs in a single day
  19 [18:06] <highvoltage> using only teachers from existing schools who decided to volunteer and help other schools, along with some other regular volunteers we had
  20 [18:07] <highvoltage> the focus in that project was also more towards education, as in, curriculum aligned, as apposed to teaching IT skills as I originally wanted to
  21 [18:07] <highvoltage> still, it was a great project to be involved in, and it was awesome begin able to empower people to do things for themselves.
  22 [18:08] <highvoltage> we expanded the project later to some NGO organisations, and also 2 adult prisons
  23 [18:08] <highvoltage> the prisons were quite interesting since in South Africa, inmates generally don't have internet access
  24 [18:08] <highvoltage> and when they do, it's very, very limited and monitored
  25 [18:09] <highvoltage> our solution at the time were mostly targeted at kids, so we we're a bit nervous how adults were going to respond to it
  26 [18:10] <highvoltage> to our surprise, the custom ubuntu system we put together actually worked quite well. some of the people in the prison who couldn't read started to play the kids games, the inmates started helping each other and the literacy improved
  27 [18:11] <highvoltage> it was quite interesting, although I moved to more commercial projects afterwards and lost touch with what was happening in those projects afterwards
  28 [18:11] <highvoltage> today I work for a company that provides large scale Ubuntu and LTSP solutions, and quite a number of our clients are big schools.
  29 [18:12] <highvoltage> In my experiences Ubuntu is really a great platform for schools and education. It's so much safer to use, it's less work to maintain, and it gives you a *lot* out of the box.
  30 [18:13] <highvoltage> I also got involved in the Edubuntu project, which I'll try not to speak *too* much about, and rather leave some space for more questions.
  31 [18:13] <highvoltage> Edubuntu maintains the educational packages in Ubuntu, and also tries to get in new packages
  32 [18:14] <highvoltage> The Edubuntu project also puts together the Edubuntu iso disc, which is an Ubuntu system that installs the packages that the Edubuntu team is involved with
  33 [18:14] <highvoltage> we're constantly working on improving Edubuntu, with the goal that it will be a great general all-purpose educational system for homes and classrooms alike
  34 [18:15] <highvoltage> with the last release we made some good strides, and we plan to shake things up a bit for the next release by implementing some new things that will make it much more flexible and more suitable for more kinds of environments
  35 [18:16] <highvoltage> I'll blabber about Edubuntu just a *bit* more :)
  36 [18:17] <highvoltage> the project went through a bit of a dive a few releases ago where we lost most of our contributors due to some politics in the project
  37 [18:17] <highvoltage> in the meantime we've been rebuilding the project, and basically started from scratch
  38 [18:18] <highvoltage> edubuntu is now not about a system, about software, but about the people involved and the things that they do
  39 [18:18] <highvoltage> that's why you'll often see us say things like "edubuntu is a group of people..." in our descriptions instead of "edubuntu is a system designed to blah blah blah"
  40 [18:18] <highvoltage> about two months ago we launched a new Edubuntu website, it's still very much work in progress,
  41 [18:19] <highvoltage> but the next phase it to make it a lot more personal
  42 [18:19] <highvoltage> we want to include stories, pictures and videos of people out there who made things work and who managed to do some interesting and cool stuff with Ubuntu in education
  43 [18:20] <highvoltage> dinda started a wiki page where schools could list their details, I'll probably be contacting some of these schools and aksing them if they'd like to share their story for out site
  44 [18:20] <highvoltage> this list is currently at: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Education/UbuntuSchools
  45 [18:20] <highvoltage> also, if you're interested in the Edubuntu website, you could find it here: http://edubuntu.org/
  46 [18:21] <highvoltage> we also started twitter, idetnica and a youtube profile with the launching of the new website
  47 [18:21] <highvoltage> on our youtube channel we favourited some video uploads related to education and ubuntu in schools that some of you might find interesting: http://www.youtube.com/user/edubuntuproject
  48 [18:22] <highvoltage> we'd like to expand that channel drastically over the next year or so. we'll need some help on that though :)
  49 [18:23] <highvoltage> the edubuntu screenshots page also featues some of the educational tools available in Ubuntu, that are also shipped with the Edubuntu system
  50 [18:23] <highvoltage> stgraber, who just joined the channel, is also involved with the edubuntu project
  51 [18:24] <highvoltage> any questions or comments at this stage?
  52 [18:24]  * stgraber waves
  53 [18:25] <highvoltage> For those who asked questions, the bot didn't notify me so I'll just need a second to go sift them out :)
  54 [18:26] <highvoltage> 13:08 < quietone> QUESTION: what is LTSP?
  55 [18:26] <highvoltage> LTSP is short for Linux Terminal Server Project, it allows you to install Ubuntu (or Edubuntu) or pretty much any Linux distribution
  56 [18:26] <highvoltage> on one single machine
  57 [18:27] <highvoltage> typically a good server machine
  58 [18:27] <highvoltage> and then you connect a series of diskless machines that boots from it over the network
  59 [18:28] <ClassBot> mhall119 asked: How much does it cost a school, on average, when you do one of these deployments?
  60 [18:29] <highvoltage> the project that I worked on in 2003-2006 specifically did it on as much of a shoestring budget as possible
  61 [18:29] <highvoltage> it's an extreme example, but it gives an idea of what can be done
  62 [18:30] <highvoltage> for a typical computer lab, consisting of switch, LTSP server, 20 used computers (which we typically didn't pay for), and the cables, etc we typically had a budget of R20000
  63 [18:30] <highvoltage> that's only about €2150
  64 [18:30] <highvoltage> the schools would implement their own desks, etc and make sure that the classroom is ready to transform into a computer lab
  65 [18:31] <highvoltage> and then we'd go in on a saturday with volunteers and set everything up with the teachers at the school
  66 [18:32] <highvoltage> in general, it would cost more, but using LTSP you can really start with very little and expand from there, which is one of the reasons we work so hard to integrate it properly with edubuntu
  67 [18:32] <ClassBot> mhall119 asked: and also, how many people (both at your company and the school) are involved in the implementation?
  68 [18:33] <highvoltage> good question. we have staff in canada, brazil and france. it differs from location to location. the current schools we work with like to be quite dependent, so we provide a lot of our services remotely
  69 [18:34] <highvoltage> with the south african schools that was quite tough because many of the schools didn't even have an Internet connection in their labs
  70 [18:34] <highvoltage> so remote support was often not even an option.
  71 [18:34] <highvoltage> in Canada it's quite different though :)
  72 [18:34] <ClassBot> helger asked: Why is Edubuntu only available on DVD? In many parts of the world it is common that computer labs at schools consist of dontated second hand computers. These computers do not have DVD players and can often not boot from USB... How can one install Edubuntu in this case?
  73 [18:35] <highvoltage> helger: great question
  74 [18:35] <highvoltage> the short answer: you can't
  75 [18:35] <highvoltage> we have a problem with Edubuntu at the moment where we just install *everything* that's available
  76 [18:36] <highvoltage> so due to a lot of the services that start up on the disc, it ends up needing 1GB of RAM to install with a full desktop install session
  77 [18:36] <highvoltage> that's just way too much for a typical old computer
  78 [18:36] <highvoltage> for Edubuntu 11.04, we're going to componentize it more so that you can specifically choose the software you want to install
  79 [18:36] <highvoltage> it will require much less RAM to install and will be more suitable for older computers as well
  80 [18:37] <highvoltage> if you have lots of old computers you probably also want to use LTSP as well
  81 [18:38] <highvoltage> You'll find that the Edubuntu team is quite helpful, and will attempt to help a school in the support lists/channel even if they run Xubuntu or Lubuntu or one fo the Ubuntu variants aimed at smaller systems
  82 [18:39] <highvoltage> other systems will just provide much less out of the box, and especially some systems like Lubuntu might not quite provide the level of usability that educators and students may require
  83 [18:39] <highvoltage> as for the DVD part, we do try to keep it small
  84 [18:39] <highvoltage> but keeping Edubuntu to once CD is extremely hard, considering that Ubuntu already has a tough time fitting on a CD, and we're adding to that
  85 [18:40] <highvoltage> at one point, we split Edubuntu off to an add-on CD to Ubuntu
  86 [18:40] <highvoltage> that way you had two CD's, one with the 700MB of Ubuntu that was already included in the Edubuntu disc, and the add-on disc that then contained the Edubuntu parts
  87 [18:41] <highvoltage> even though it seemed like a great idea technically at the time
  88 [18:41] <highvoltage> we had to deal with a lot of outrage from our users who were unhappy about it
  89 [18:41] <highvoltage> people made it clear that what they wanted was a turn-key solution, and that we were wasting our time with the add-on Cd
  90 [18:42] <highvoltage> we listened and merged the edubuntu-addon CD back with an Ubuntu system to provide a full Edubuntu system again
  91 [18:42] <highvoltage> and it just grew from there
  92 [18:42] <highvoltage> (shew long answer!)
  93 [18:42] <ClassBot> sebsebseb asked: Why is there not a version of Edubuntu based on KDE?
  94 [18:42] <highvoltage> what makes you think there's not ;)
  95 [18:43] <highvoltage> on KDE, it works more like it did with our add-on CD in the past
  96 [18:43] <highvoltage> first, you have to install Kubuntu, and then you can install the edubuntu-desktop-kde package
  97 [18:43] <highvoltage> we provide some instructions for this on http://edubuntu.org/download
  98 [18:44] <highvoltage> I'm not 100% sure how well the Edubuntu KDE desktop is maintained at this point, but we certainly welcome wider testing and reporting of bugs!
  99 [18:45] <highvoltage> as for a full-install spin with a default KDE desktop, we just don't have the resources currently to test all those builds when it comes to release milestones and releases
 100 [18:46] <highvoltage> I'm also quite confident that the average KDE user would be skillul enough to be able to select and install packages on their system :)
 101 [18:46] <highvoltage> I've answered quite a few Edubuntu questions
 102 [18:46] <highvoltage> any education or school related questions out there?
 103 [18:47] <highvoltage> I've just peeked at -chat, and regarding the earlier question about how big Edubuntu is, there is also the Qimo project that is based on Xfce. We collaborate a bit with that project as well
 104 [18:48] <highvoltage> their website is http://www.qimo4kids.com/
 105 [18:48] <highvoltage> qimo is targeted at kids and great if you have small kids and you want to install it on your home computer
 106 [18:49] <ClassBot> mhall119 asked: in the USA there seems to be an attitude of "Kids should only learn Windows, because that's all they'll use when they grow up".  How do you overcome that?
 107 [18:49] <highvoltage> I *love* that question
 108 [18:49] <highvoltage> and have come across it a lot in South Africa too
 109 [18:50] <highvoltage> not to get too deep into politics, but in the Apartheid era in South Africa the government didn't allow some schools in certain 'black areas' at the time to offer subjects like mathematics and science, because they said that those people wouldn't be able to go to university or be able to get a good job anyway
 110 [18:51] <ClassBot> There are 10 minutes remaining in the current session.
 111 [18:51] <highvoltage> it was a quite horrible system where they had to learn mundane work because "that's what they're going to be doing one day anyway"
 112 [18:52] <highvoltage> in the same veign, I argued that teacing kids to be simple office workers just because that is what many people are likely to become is wrong
 113 [18:52] <highvoltage> education shouldn't be about dumbing people down to the most common denominator
 114 [18:52] <highvoltage> it should be about teaching people and helping them to reach their potential
 115 [18:53] <highvoltage> teaching them to think in one very specific way isn't doing that. teaching them how very different systems look and work and teaching them the concepts instead is much more useful, imho
 116 [18:54] <highvoltage> especially since technologies change a lot. in one period people might use WordStar, then WordPerfect, then MSWord for DOS 5.5, then MS Office, then OpenOffice... history has shown that things change anyway :)
 117 [18:55] <ClassBot> mhall119 asked: Do you do anything to help schools improve their curiculum for teaching about computers?
 118 [18:56] <ClassBot> There are 5 minutes remaining in the current session.
 119 [18:56] <highvoltage> not currently, but I know of projects that do, one non-profit I worked with (Ikamva Youth) has put together a curriculum for their students
 120 [18:57] <highvoltage> I haven't been following them recently so I'm unable to comment on the exact status, but I can recommend googling them :)
 121 [18:57] <highvoltage> This is not so much a question but a comment I noticed while glancing over -chat:
 122 [18:57] <highvoltage> 13:53 < mick_laptop> M$ gives free copies of windows and offers to help w/ elecvtricity etc for using windows
 123 [18:57] <highvoltage> in South Africa, we had the problem of some of the labs we installed being actively removed to make space for free Windows labs
 124 [18:58] <highvoltage> we lost some schools purely because the local organisation taht was funded by Microsoft (at least in part) provided the schools with much more than we could at the time
 125 [18:58] <highvoltage> in the beginned it was very painful to deal with that
 126 [18:59] <highvoltage> but after it happened with a few schools, we found a whole lot more schools who refused that offer and said that they specifically want to stay with free software and do things for themselves
 127 [18:59] <highvoltage> it was great to see that there were so many teachers who were so passionate about it that some of them even argued it with the headmaster of the school at the risk of losing their jobs
 128 [19:00] <ClassBot> tentwelveeight asked: Edubuntu's goal says: "Our aim is to put together a system that contains all the best free software available in education in an easy to install and maintain package. (we'll rephrase this soon and also mention our emphasis on usability...)". Why the rephrasing, and how can I get Canonical to support the "maintain" aspect by offering Landscape to schools and educational organizations for free?
 129 [19:01] <ClassBot> Logs for this session will be available at http://irclogs.ubuntu.com/2010/10/14/%23ubuntu-classroom.html
 130 [19:01] <highvoltage> tentwelveeight: heh, I meant to clean that up a bit when we launched the new website... and I guess I'm gon enow :)

MeetingLogs/openweekMaverick/UbuntuinEducation (last edited 2010-10-15 01:28:19 by nigelbabu)