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Re: [K12OSN] New install (cc'd from offlist)

Some mistakes I made?

1) I sold the idea to the administration. I did a good job, I had a comparative analysis of proprietary OS versus linux, etc. I saved (literally) $250,000. But I didnt' involve the teachers. They came into non-standard, cheap looking hardware, and were furious. Many of them still don't like me. And, they have reason -- I was wrong in my single pronged approach. Everyone talks about how hard it is to get school boards to approve non-microsoft products, so that's where I attacked. I should have started "grass roots" first.

Unfortunately I too was the victim of the aestatics(sp) bug. People (students and adults) judge the box by the age the machine *appears*. I had some secretaries running Win4Lin on top of LTSP on old P133's, but killer graphics cards. They complained, they sighed. I swapped em over this year one by one to the HP thin client and they all love their "new machines". I even have 2 running on laptops, and they think their's run the fastest of all because they are laptops ;-)

3) TRAINING. That is what I'm trying to fix with my email to the list. I want to set up a community of support for teachers. I think that will help both in feeling secure, and in accountability.

Agreeing with Shawn education about the power of Linux is another hurdle. The biggest squawker I have against Linux is always using the "well who else is using this Linux thing?" I've given him the #'s, I've given him other school districts, businesses etc. I've used the teach concepts not applications argument, I've assured him we will always have 3 OS's (Windows, Linux and OS X), but getting people past that Microsoft is everything mentality is HARD.

Oh, and the powerpoint thing -- OpenOffice does not have all the clipart. That sucks. There are some websites with free clipart, and using those along with file saving techniques (ie, save to home directory, and then insert file inside openoffice) prove to be effective. Part of it is trial and error. If the teachers know that going in, and see it as an opportunity to teach kids both how to make a powerpoint, AND how to edit/modify files opened on different computers, it can be a wonderful experience. Face it, in the real world, WE FACE THINGS LIKE THAT!!! Heck, versions of powerpoint vary in what they look like. Being able to cope with those things should be part of the learning process...

ClipArt is another problem. That was almost a show stopper for me too using Open Office. Never mind the kids almost 100% google images anyway.

Text books are another hurdle that Shawn didn't specifically mention. Leaving the safety of a textbook is hard for some teachers too (if you are using Linux/OpenOffice etc as part of a computer course).

I got so fed up with that "A course can't be taught w/o a textbook" argument I ended up teaching a class this year to prove you could. I ended up doing the whole course using Open Source software, all electronic (ala Moodle) and all without a text book. Did it help? <shrug> I feel better anyway ;-)


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