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thelinuxgurus.org: Getting Linux Into The Schools

[ Thanks to David Culp
for this link. ]

“The Linux community has been extremely focused lately on
getting Linux onto the desktop and into peoples homes. Much work as
been done in making Linux more user friendly, more graphically
oriented, easier to install and maintain. I consider this a good
thing for the most part. However, the Linux community as a
whole has ignored one major aspect of making Linux more popular,
and that is getting it into schools and letting students work with
it.

“Todays educational market is dominated by Microsoft and to a
lesser degree by Apple. Students begin learning MS Windows at an
early age by working with it in schools. When they graduate and go
on to buy their own computers what will they buy? Most will buy
what they are familiar with and that of course is a Windows box. In
fact most will not even know that an alternative even exists. This
is the same reason why software manufactures offer amazing
discounts to students and educators on software. As a student you
can buy MS Office dirt cheap, in fact, hundreds of dollars cheaper
than you can get it at regular price. When you are no longer a
student and need to upgrade, what will you buy? You will most
likely buy what you are familiar with and this time you have to pay
full price.”

“Another large problem with getting Linux into the hands of
students is convincing the people that make the decisions that
Linux is a good thing and will help their students function in the
“real world”. Most administrators think this means teaching
students to use Windows and MS Office. I myself am an educator, I
teach middle school science and see this all the time.
Administrators believe that by teaching a student how to use a
specific application that this somehow helps them function later in
life. Too many times I have seen so called “tech” education classes
as simple scripted classes where a student is simply led through
the motions of pointing and clicking. We need to show
administrators that this does not truly help a student, that we
should teach a more broad understanding of the concepts involved.
If we can teach those broad concepts then students can apply them
to a broad range of situations, applications, and operating
systems.”

Complete
Story