Our Digital Strategy is outlined here. Such a vital part of school life nowadays! I've been thinking of a way we could make use of the old machines which are spread around the school.

Considerations…

  • Teachers need to go online, often quickly
  • We are moving much shared work over to Google Drive
  • Pupils are therefore working on Google Drive on on their Google Site more
  • Budget!

 

So, my response is Linux Ubuntu – a version of Linux designed to be pretty much useable out of the box…However still stripped down and fast.

Admittedly you do still have to think about your tech support in school – proxy settings for servers and things are easily handled in the operating system – but you may come across some issues. For example I haven't created a server system…

Linux is an open-source operating system, which comes in many flavours. Built by a community which makes it super responsive to changes in hardware. There are so many different versions that it can feel a little overwhelming! I wanted one which the pupils and teachers would still recognise!

 

What I've done

Installed Ubuntu on a few 'choice' machines – they are old Dell machines – with either 500MB or 1GB of ram. As we're moving away from the shared network they are not connected to the server. I've created some 'crib sheets' detailing what they can be used to do – and installed some simple education software (and a few games!)

 

 

So far

Ubuntu has proven surprisingly resilient – it certainly speeds up the machines it is on – connects quickly and provides consistent access to the internet. Downloading chrome lso helps in terms of our cloud based MIS system! I'm waiting to see how it goes with the adults in school! Biggest learning curve seems to be moving away from using MS Office.

 

And next…


This – I'm looking into some of the child-friendly operating systems – aiming to explore the range of apps and the different organisation.

 

I'll keep you informed! Would love to hear if you've had any experience of this!

 

8 Responses »

  1. I’ve done the same myself. We were going to throw away some very old laptops as they were too slow on our network, so I installed Lubuntu (an even lighter version of Ubuntu) onto them and they work very quickly. All we needed was a browser environment for Google Docs as we’re also going down the Google route. I agree with your closing comment, the inertia which surrounds Microsoft Office is quite a tricky problem to overcome.

    • RS says:

      Thanks for replying! I’ve got some even older laptops, so I might look at Lubuntu. Would be interesting to hear how you get on!

  2. bcoudoin says:

    Just curious, are you using GCompris?

    • RS says:

      Hi – not so far but weirdly just started to look at it today – any thoughts?

      • bcoudoin says:

        Well, I am the creator of GCompris so I was wondering if you tested it with the children.

        • RS says:

          Ah right! Hello!! Just started today – have been sharing it through qimo and another couple of linux builds. Have had teachers playing with it today – and some of the older children (ready to work with the younger children). I really like it! Not sure I’ve seen the latest one though.

  3. […] Putting Ubuntu on our old Windows XP computers was a way of trying to breathe new life into the machines – making them useable again. That post is here. […]

  4. Paul Sunman says:

    I’ve provided Edubuntu based systems for several primary schools with a selection of curriculum based software. LibreOffice is a very capable office suite which, along with Google Docs, provides support for MS file formats along with the recently UK government supported Open Document file formats.

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