[Wolves] Re: Wolves Digest, Vol 54, Issue 13. Linux Education etc.

Howard Berry h.berry at blueyonder.co.uk
Sun Oct 3 15:16:36 BST 2004

I used to work in Special Education in Wolverhampton. I still meet a
friend from my old school. Here are my thoughts.
The push for M$ is driven top down. Teachers are given laptops which are
M$ because central government and local government are leaned on by a
very effective lobbying system and made to feel that the licencing
concessions are a real gift. Outfits like RM are part of this system. 
This and other factors, makes it almost impossible for someone- usually
a teacher- to break out of the system. You have to be very determined
and very knowledgeable and there are battalions of nay-sayers just
waiting to pounce. 
Another factor is time: you don't have any. You are there to teach and
anything that gets in the way is dead time.
Support from some sort of local resource base is very very veeery weak-
like a couple of seconded teachers.
In the case of my old school, they have gone their own way and bought in
tech. support. Here again, people who can twiddle knobs and get Windows
system up and running are ten a penny. Linux support? Thats a little
more tricky!
There are exceptions to this bleak picture- there were good examples
given in a recent Linux Format magazine. 
What can be done?
Keep pushing for proper consideration for Linux at national and local
advocacy of Open Source software on Windows. Give the stuff away on CDs
(you don't need the bloated Leviathan MS Office for most of what you
Get educational software working on Linux (Schoolforge are on to this)
Finally, as there is a move to more web based resources. The flavour of
the client OS can become less important.

A quick change of subject.
When I worked at Beckminster House on the IT support team in the mid
eighties, a teacher rang up with some problem with her computer. When
asked what sort of computer it was she said it was a "forty eight
ounce". This was very perplexing, and it took some time for us to
realise that she was looking at a Research Machines 480Z - a 48 oz!

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