Ubuntu in School – Part II

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.

It has made machines accessible for internet based work – bur schools often need more than that. At the end of the term I think some questions need answering…

What did Linux do?

I put on most of the machines Linux Ubuntu – but it turned out that this was a little too power hungry for some of the machines. On the laptops it was fine, I downloaded and installed a few basic programmes – inlcuding this open whiteboard software, Open Sankore. On others we struggled, I tried a few very stripped down versions, including Puppy Linux and children’s versions such as Qimo and Sugar on a Stick. The computers worked very well with these, but they were older operating systemz and not easy to update. This meant that software we needed, such as up to date internet browsers were difficult to locate and install.

What can the machines used for?

Laptops with Ubuntu on can be used for most purposes – but as they were not connected to the school shared drives (we are moving over to Google Drive) – this limited the usefulness for some. However I envouraged the use as if it were a chromebook. An updated browser was therefore crucial. The educational suite, GCompris, was also on the machines, providing some basic educational based games.

What were the machines actually used for?

In practice, the machines have actually been used by children more than staff. The pupils find adapting to an unfamiliar operating system much easier and actually enjoy finding things to do. I put a choice of Linux OS on some machines and this may have been a mistake as it put people off experimenting. Easy access to the internet is key. The machines are in shared spaces currently and children will choose to use them.

What’s next?

Decisions need to be made – there are still lots of the XP machines around school!! The chromebooks have been more useful and so easy to pick up for pupils and teachers.

  • I’ve started using the Digital Leaders in school to review the use of the machines and share it with other children and teachers.
  • Time is a huge problem. Teachers need time to explore, and this year, with the huge amount of change is already proving a big challenge on inset and staff meetings.
  • I’m going to perservere – giving a new lease of life to these machines is very useful and I think pupils do need to experience other operating systems.











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