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Rianne Kruyswijk (not verified)

Just some

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Just some thoughts... Originally, open source software sounded very desirable, especially open source learning management systems such as Moodle or Sakai. I'll admit there are a lot of benefits, but also argue that open source isn't quite as 'free' as it advertises. While attending the Conference for Information Technology in Charlotte, NC this year, we visited presentations that praised open source software as the hope for the future, while also attending presentations that said open source is really not any cheaper or much easier than other LMS such as Desire2Learn or Blackboard. These presenters (college administrators and tech people) found that, after having presentations from various open source and non-open source vendors, the cost of implementing open source would even out with other vendors. They based this cost analysis on costs for: time for implementation, teacher/administrator/student training, hiring tech people to keep up software and debug, etc, and various other factors. They found that vendors such as Blackboard, etc, had the experienced employees and help for training, implementation and upkeep; these vendors were far more developed in their 'help' section than open source. Any thoughts?
Luke Forshaw (not verified)

As an educator always

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As an educator always looking to find new means of promoting student learning through technology, I find myself constantly gravitating towards open source software. I re-furbish laptops and install Edubuntu. I am able to distribute these laptops to classrooms that only have one or two older windows boxes. While the windows machines are able to access our network and the internet, the Edubuntu machines provide wonderful support for the students when they are offline through the multitude of games, office software and special educational software. I have actually been trying to establish a sort of community Edubuntu recycling program in which students would help me refurb community donated laptops to then donate to charity. Additionally, I am a huge fan of Moodle, through which I run an on-line professional development course. I am always looking to connect with other educators who find value in technology for learning, feel free to reach out by visiting my blog (http://www.lukeforshaw.com , I apologize for spamming here , but am always looking to reach out to others in the field :) )
Richard Harlin (not verified)

I'm a technology director in

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I'm a technology director in upstate New York, and am very much interested in Open Source applications and operating systems. Last summer we created an initiative for educators in our county, in order to evaluate and rate Open Source applications. It's been slow going, but when people see some of the very high caliber applications that will run on Microsoft operating systems (e.g. OpenOffice, Blender, etc.) they are frequently amazed. I have been experimenting with several Linux desktop distros over the years, right now EDUBUNTU has my eye - UBUNTU with lots of educational software included. People need to keep in mind that Linux can be an effective server platform also. There are many instances where a small, inexpensive server could be of use for utility or limited purposes.
~Tim (not verified)

In my district (in Florida)

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In my district (in Florida) the cost of software is justified by being "industry standard". And, while I appreciate having software I would never purchase for home use, I don't NEED it except to comply with articulation agreements with the local community college. I think this makes us too much a follower and not a leader.... At this point I'm afraid we are so entrenched that a change to open source would be long and painful. (Hmm, not that that's much different from upgrades with our current vendors now that I think about it.)
Dave Floyd (not verified)

Other than OpenOffice, what

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Other than OpenOffice, what other educational software is there for open source OS's?
Bonnie Bracey Sutton (not verified)

Well, since my initial

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Well, since my initial comment, I have converted one of my computers to mostly open source resources. I think it was scary to do, because I sort of know the programs, but had to figure out the differences. It helped that at the Supercomputing Conference in Tampa, that many of the new programs were explored and shared. It also helped that I had David Thornburg's book as a guide. I wonder how we could make that resource available to developing nations,. Just a thought., Bonnie Bracey Sutton
Harry Keller (not verified)

Too many applications are

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Too many applications are Windows-centric. How can we push developers to create platform-independent apps like Open Office? Stephen Downes's example of EA Hockey may not be important to educators, but lots of educational software runs only on Windows. The future of software, especially of educational software (in my opinion), lies in platform-independent, web-delivered applications. Toss out those CDs!
Randy Coleman (not verified)

Our school district is

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Our school district is moving from Windows to Linux so that we can use open source software to cut our costs for hardware, licensing, and tech support. If you are considering doing the same, I recommend looking at the K-12 Linux web site (http://www.k12linux.org/). I also recommend finding a Linux geek to help, especially if you want to set up terminal services. For larger installations, take a look at what Novell has to offer. It's SUSE Linux products are not free, but they're much cheaper than Microsoft and include excellent services.
Stephen Downes (not verified)

I am reading this on Ubuntu

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I am reading this on Ubuntu right now (Edgy Eft). The only thing I miss from Windows is EA Hockey.
Cameron Bell (not verified)

I am starting a low-key OSS

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I am starting a low-key OSS evolution at my school. We have added Gimp, Scribus, Open Office, Inkscape and a raft of other OSS on the lab computers. I have converted my laptop to Ubuntu, however it still needs Windows due to 2 critical apps that need Win (our roll marking only works properly on IE and our reports/assessment program only runs on Win or emulation on Mac. Other than that, it's fine. My major concern is that we are moving to digital portfolios etc for records of student work and that in the course of a typical students 6 year program that work completed in Year 7 will be unable to be read (easily if at all) by the time they reach Year 12. Think about how much progress you see in 6 years in ICT! Open Office's open file formats are a better archival solution. When teachers complain, I ask them what is the best outcome for students- confined to the present "industry standard" at school, or being able to freely obtain the software for use at home where they can do more work and gain a better understanding of the concepts?
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