[Gllug] Technology and UK Education

Walter Stanish walter.stanish at saffrondigital.com
Wed Dec 30 13:14:27 UTC 2009

> A few years ago I was asked to attend a small discission group at BETT to
> ascertain the views of visitors. One teacher said that she had just been
> told that she had been made head of the IT department, knew nothing about
> the subject, so had come along to find out.

These people are excellent candidates for FOSS adoption, since they can
often look past cosmetic / habitual concerns and see the real monetary, 
maintenance and flexibility gains from FOSS offerings.

Perhaps a good GLLUG project could be building a representative (diskless?)
Linux based solution for schools to present at the next BETT, since there's
not much time left before the show this year.

The solution could highlight things like ease of maintenance, flexibility,
hardware and TCO savings vs. an equivalent commercial solution.  
Particularly if a small group were to donate time for the cause, I am sure
that we could achieve excellent results with such a presentation, and
provide the work to groups elsewhere assist with similar efforts.

It may be possible to involve computing and education students at a
nearby university to guarantee long-term viability to a trial rollout.
Getting a university involved would have the secondary benefit that
their opinions carry some weight against commercial marketeers when it
comes to the immense value of increased software literacy later in
life (eg: most tertiary education, and almost any modern/academic/
technical discipline).

(IMHO FOSS is simply a superior technical platform for low-cost teaching,
since you can find tools and techniques to teach almost anything within
computing without having to shell out for umpteen pieces of software
or employ a team of full time network maintenance people.  But that's
preaching to the choir...)

I'm not a UK citizen and have very little free time but I'd be willing
to donate to such a cause.  I for one would also be willing to lobby my
employer to donate some of my time to teaching specific aspects of
computing to interested secondary students on such a platform, and
could definitely find some time regardless.

I don't use it personally but it would seem that Ubuntu's globalised /
ease of use / education-oriented philosophy would place them as a strong
potential partner and source of recruitment for such a project.

In short, anyone in the group wishing to carry such an idea forward
would have my full support.

It shouldn't take much to get things rolling.... perhaps start a wiki,
autocratically choose a basis for the project so as to avoid time-
consuming pontification (eg: Ubuntu.  I don't use it personally but I
can see the benefits it would offer for such a project), and then
research and recruit a little.

With a 12 month time period, I'm sure we could present something
extremely polished that would turn heads.

- Walter
Gllug mailing list  -  Gllug at gllug.org.uk

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