[ILUG] More Linux in the classroom!
jbolger at socc.ie
Thu Feb 3 21:22:18 GMT 2000
On Thu, Feb 03, 2000 at 07:15:31PM +0000, Michael Treacy wrote:
> I teach computers in a school in Limerick. I've also been responsible for
> setting up the network - Novell 4.11 and 30 PC's running Windoze 95. After
> that, our only requirments are a suite of programs for Wordprocessing,
> Database and Spreadsheets.
I am one of the network admins in SOCC in Drogheda (I aminly look after
the Linux end of things remotely from home and from DCU where I am a final
> Now as I see it, KOffice (when it's finished) or Star Office or Applixware
> could fulfill all of this for us. I would probably go with one of the first
> two due to them being free!!
Unfortunately staroffice is resource hungry (in my experience it needs
more resources than MS Office)
> Graphics software is available (The GIMP), and almost everything else you
> could want.
We also have a wide range of internet utilities - Netscape (And soon
mozilla), mail clients, news clients, irc clients, etc.
ALso there are free programming languages including C, Java, Perl and
> I'm seriously thinking of re-building our system over the summer, removing
> Novell and installing Linux, using SAMBA to link Windoze to Linux. And if it
> wasn't for the fact that the school is used for night classes in computers,
> I would probably remove Windoze altogether and go down the Linux road
> completely. I don't know about you, but I find it a right pain in the arse
> having to "fix" all the things that students get up to on computers
> espcially in Windoze.
The root of this problem is of course the lack of any filesystem
protection on any version of dos/windows 9X. This allows any program or
user to delete or corrupt files at will. All you have to do is right click
on any file on the C Drive and select delete and the file is gone without
any chance of recovery. There is nothing you can do about this without
expensive third party protection software such as Fortres. The built in
security (poledit) is a joke which does nothing but confuse the admin.
The only solution is to use NT, which is expensive and resource hungry.
> I was thinking about the Linux situation lately and discussing it with
> another teacher. Set up properly, the students don't even need floppies -
> they have their own area on the server, etc. I find that they lose them,
> forget to take them out of the pc when they leave, etc.
I agree 100% here. Floppies are unreliable at the best of times and most
students do not know how to handle them correctly. Floppy disks have also
got very low capicity - MS OFfice files often take up more than 1.44MB (if
you have embedded graphics).
In SOCC we give students 10MB of disk space (this allows them to store
files, email and if they wish, put up a small web site). If students need
more space for a project, they usually get it after they ask. I have found
that people rarely lose files.
> I really think it's definitely the way to go. But we would need to make
> teachers aware of what CAN be done by, as you suggest, taking a school and
> using it as a pilot school. And then maybe getting some articles into the
> various educational journals about the project. Any teacher who teaches
> computers cannot but be aware of the massive increase in interest in Linux
> this past year. I definitely think we could arouse a lot of interest.
If you go to http://www.socc.ie/teangmhl.htm you can see that its already
been done in one school with great success.
In my experience the best place to start is the server. An Internal web
server, mail server (Kenn Humborg's UUCP feed presentation at LAID showed
a very viable way of bring email to the masses) or router (IP Masquerading
or squid with one dialup connection). This allows you to provide a useful
service and build up confidence in using Linux. It can be done on old
hardware, without making huge changes to the netwrok which is lready
A big problem is ECDL (European Computer Driving License). It is a course
on using computers which is tought in many schools. It is based completely
on MS Windows.
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