Tag Archives: education

Encouraging open source in education

I’ve read today a case study by Gregor Bierhals about an Austrian project called desktop4education which creates a desktop environment for school based on open suse.

The fact that really surprised me (and for the better) was the fact that the federal government help the project by sending CDs/DVDs to other school and even willing to award schools to move to open source software and reducing license fees.

While schools don’t pay the the Microsoft Office license fee (10 euro per station), the federal government has decided to pay the schools 10 euro for each station that moved to open source software.

However, by the time of writing the situation is about to change as the Federal government increasingly adopts a policy that promotes the use of open source software in Austrian schools. Exemplary to this is the government’s decision to pay any school €10 for each workstation that runs the free productivity suite Open Office that is provided by Sun Microsystems in replace of Microsoft Office, for which the government introduced a calculative license fee of €10.

I think this decision is radical as it motives the schools to move to open source software, and benefiting financially from the move. So while the government might pay a bit more, the money goes to the schools instead of commercial companies. I’m sure that’s a better investment of tax payers money.

I can just hope more governments will adopt this policy.

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Filed under Proud to use free software

How to make an open source kindergarten

If you can read Hebrew, you’ll find the original story at “איך עושים גן בקוד פתוח“. Otherwise, you’re welcome to read the post.

Vitali Perchonok was asked to check the computer is his city of Kiryat Gat, he found a lot of old PCs (P1 and P2) with windows 98 and DOS games that don’t work. He decided to find a way to use the computers with open source software.

He found that he can run Gcompris, an educational software suite comprising of numerous activities for children aged 2 to 10, on the old computers. Now he just needs to update the Hebrew translation (last updated at 2005). Along side the translation he fixed bugs, recorded new sounds and replaced some of the graphics (all with the help of a few friends).

To wrap it all, he decided to create a liveCD for the program, and this was the beginning of KG-Live. The changes were sent upstream and should be included in the next release.

Today, the project waits for approval from the Israeli Ministry of Education, before distributing the software officially to the kindergartens.

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Filed under Free software applications, i18n & l10n, Israeli Community, Proud to use free software