Robin writes: Just a bit of silliness to lighten up your day: “If your school, charity or government agency is suddenly graced with a visit by Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer offering to donate a free operating system or desktop office software, Linux.com will match that offer. Our software offer has no strings attached to it whatsoever. You don’t need to start paying for upgrades after a few years or anything like that. Too good to be true? Bill and Steve might think so, but we don’t!”
Linux.com Matches Microsoft Software Donation offers
Submitted by Robin 2002-10-11 Linux 33 Comments
But will you provide teachers with training and provide them with new equipment (desktops, laptops, etc) as well to use in their classrooms? Microsoft and Intel have some pretty nice programs in place that introduce teachers to new technology and get it into their classrooms… 🙂
Cool, now when I buy that RH 8.0 box, I would get $40…..
I think computers are mostly a waste of resources in most classrooms. High schools might have need of them for limited projects. The basics of school should not have changed. Why not teach kids real world stuff? They know how to play games on a computer and chat and send email. Teach them how to be safe with chainsaws, cars, firearms and such. I know it almost sounds like religion but how about respect for life and honesty and quality workmanship? Anyone can see from my posts that I didn’t have a computer and still can’t write well. Will a computer improve me?
I admit the draw that the CRT seems to have over humans.
There is not a school in America that would have to pay for software if I were President. All copyrighted works protected by Congress would be free to public schools!!! These works should become public domain much sooner for the benefit of Americans!!
The point is that the programmes by MS and Intel are Trojan horses. They trick you into accepting all this “free” stuff, only to force you to pay dearly further down the track (in licensing, upgrades, etc.). MS are renowned for their ‘lock-in’ strategies, so once you’re in it is difficult to escape. Ripping off schools like this is simply immoral.
Why can’t some of you give ms a little credit? They’re giving schools a lot of free stuff but all you see is the possibility of them making money down the road. Not a damn one of you knows that ms will start charging schools for updgrades 2 years from now do you? No. You assume they will because you have some childish black and white view of ms. Grow up, they’re a company thats out to make a profit but that doesn’t mean they’re going to strong arm schools to do it. Hell look at apple, they sell macs to schools at a discount (not even free). They charge for upgrades, they charge for support, they charge every chance they get but because they aren’t ms its fine with you. And some people say they’re doing a public service, yeah making a profit off of a public school is really nice of them.
Jefro: Thank god you aren’t the president (otherwise a lot of education and edutainment software companies would be bankrupted).
Yama: What’s Intel gotta do with this?
Having graduated from high school, well, a little over four years ago and seeing my brother through high school right now, I’d have to agree that for the most part, computers are not useful in the classroom. Sure, it’s important that students have some basic familiarity with the machines, but apart from a bit of desktop publishing/graphics editing and programming in electives, there’s not much productive work done on most school computers. Surely the money spent on computers could be put to better use.
Computers ought not be put in classrooms , they ought to be put in the homes of the families and peoplee who can’t afford them
How about actually teaching people IT, rather than secretarial skills one would pick up from the local TAFE?
The only skills taught to students is how to type and use a wordprocessor. If that is the “so-called” depth of the IT education, we might as well get rid of it.
Students should learn the basic fundamentals of computing so that by 7th form (age 18) they know a computer inside and out and able write a basic program either in Python, Perl or even COBOL, which will be available on Linux from TheKompany in a product called Kobol.
The benefits of learning how to program also go well beyond the IT subjects, teaching students to design and implement ideas in a logical step by step process rather than the typical ad-hoc method most students employ.
Well, you should blame the syllabus instead the computers themselves. Teachers can’t use computers to teach if it isn’t in the syllabus.
I for one think it’s a great idea.
The reason so many people use Microsoft products is because that’s what they’re used to. Why are they used to it? It’s the only thing they’ve ever had formal lessons on. If people were taught how to use Linux, when they left school they wouldn’t be dependent on Microsoft.
People use Microsoft Word because they know how to do formatting in it. OpenOffice.org isn’t any harder, it’s just not what they’ve been taught to use. If Linux.com does this, they’ll be able to have students get used to using Linux, so they actually have a choice when they leave school, they won’t be completely dependent.
My school is installing a dual boot with Mandrake / Windows next year, so finally I amy not be the only person in my grade that knows how to use Linux. This could be a major point in bringing Linux to the desktop.
Ah, the dumbing down of America. I was fortunate enough to go to a magnet high-school, and have consistantly been shocked to find how schools operate in some places. In our school, we used computers extensively. Computer Science was mandatory, data collection in science was all computer-based (to emulate the real world lab), Derive was used in math class to show the behavior of functions far more vivedly than possible on paper, and in one class we used Mathematica to understand Fourier transforms. When I left high school, I was surprised to find that we were not an island of intellegience in a sea of ignorance. Many people are just as smart (or smarter) than those I went to school with but never got to play with the kind of stuff I got to play with. Why? Low expectations. People assume that kids are stupid. That they can’t gain anything from computers, or nice equiptment. That all these expensive “toys” are wasted when they should be learning “real world” skills. It’s bullshit. Complete and utter, pure, unadultered bullshit. People are not stupid. Humanity is not a race of morons. Joe Sixpack is not ignorant because he was born that way, but because people assumed he was and he molded himself on their expectations.
I was in a club that would occasionally hold robotics demonstrations for local kids. These 5-10 year olds would come in, play with delicate, fairly expensive robots ($200 for simple Mindstorms to $2000 for more complex ones) and have a hell of a time. And they’d understand it. Put them in front of a simple kit and they’d be able to build you a robot. Take some of the older ones and sit them down with a *good* teacher, and they’d program it for you too. Now, most of these kids wouldn’t get to touch this stuff in school, and unless they pursued it themselves, they’d probably get to touch it again. A real loss to humanity, that.
So don’t sit there and tell me that kids can’t benifet from every single opportunity given them. Throw all the technology you can afford at them, even if that means not getting that new baseball diamond or remodeled interiors. Let them play with it, take it apart, put it back together (or not), and figure out how it works. Get them used to the idea that their goal in life is to reach for perfection and assure them that every possible cent is being spent giving them the tools to do that. If nothing else, it’s a hell of a better investment than WorldCom.
How about actually teaching people IT, rather than secretarial skills one would pick up from the local TAFE?
At my highschool we had network engineering as well as introductory level programming classes. I think that’s quite applicable to anyone interested in getting a career in IT.
The point is that the programmes by MS and Intel are Trojan horses.
Oh yeah. It would be much better if they purchased the Microsoft products instead of taking them for free. What you say? Use free products? OK. Then it comes down to choosing between two free products I guess huh? Maybe the school will choose the better product?
Computer skills are going to be something that is unavoidable to learn in the near future.
Computers will be everywhere.
Kids will spend their home time playing games and exploring the net (alot already do)
The one place that should be fairly computer free is school, Kids need somewhere to socialise with schoolmates and work as a team.
Something that computer work WONT teach them.
I can vouch for this, as I have become rather a recluse, I have lost important social skills because I spend all my childhood time playing with BBS’s and Games, and writing software in Quick Basic.
At the time I thought it was cool, and that it wasnt hurting anyone, but I didnt realise that since it taking alot of my time, that time would usually go into other things such as social interation e.t.c
So yeah, In closing, some computers in school are good (i.e 2 in the physics lab or something)
And DEFINATELY a computer room where students can go in there spare time and print stuff/use it to research on the net (a futuristic library minus books?)
But in the classroom, computers should be fairly sparse, there are many other things non-computer related that kids (and older students) need to spend their time doing.
Its not always what your doing that teaches you things at school, its sometimes the way you do it aswell.
Rayiner, this is one of the few rare times I agree with you. My cousin’s (same age, people call use twins :-P) school extensively uses computers (it is a private school). He even uses it for English to do research papers. Each student every day in that school for the whole day would have an iMac G3 for himself/herself.
Now my school (public school) have a computer lab. Heck, i’m even the de facto secretary of next year’s computer club and proposed installing Linux on half of the machines for the computer club’s usage.
But for normal, non-geekish students: what do they get? A one-hour session each week where they learn the basics of Windows and Office (like they don’t know that already…)
Hmm. I have to agree. We had an American student come to New Zealand and she couldn’t get over the depth and bredth of the history we learn at school in New Zealand.
The Russian Revolution, The Long March, The Origins of World War I and II, Charles I, Charles II, Elizabeth and James I (which is James IV of Scottland). All this learnt at college, ages 13/12 to 17/18.
How about made it a core subject like English, Maths, and Science?
Every job today requires basic IT knowledge, what is wrong with equiping the future generation with even more knowledge?
However, everything in moderation. I personally think kids should not be sitting front of the computer. How about books, social skills. Real skills worth something.
Anyone can surf the web and play games. How about schools encourage students to learn WITHOUT people needing to be ask? Why not encourage those who have skills in a particular area to encourage them? create a thirst for more knowledge and a love of learning?
When I was at school my two favourite classes till the end of college were IT and Music. Both which I used to practice at and after school. Personally, I preferred music over IT 😉
Cmon, do you really think that its a good idea for high school kids to use linux instead of windows? In the real world knowing your way around windows/office is far more useful than knowing a unix type system. If they stipulated that no one could use an alternative OS on the systems in the school that would be different, but as far as training for jobs etc goes IMHO you need to know how to use windows and office.
I will have to be another one disagreeing about having computers in school.
I know I spent enough time as a kid (which is a fair few years ago now) hacking on my home computers without using the damn things in classrooms as well.
One thing most adults realise years after they finished school is that the most important things you learn aren’t maths, physiscs or english. Its the social interaction skills (or soft skills as they are now called). Anybody can go on a course and learn C# or ASP.NET. What you can’t do is go on a course and learn how to be witty or charming.
Remember, life is not about money/computers/whatever, its about people. The world is run by people and full of people. Those people who are able to communicate will succeed. Look around you, who is earning all the money?? Its certainly not geeks. Its doctors/lawyers/middle managers/salesman, all people with good people skills and charisma. Yes, the odd geek is doing well, but most are fixing computers or working on telephones for Â£6 (9$) an hour.
“How about actually teaching people IT”
IT? What’s that?
In my location, IT is dead….15,000+ IT poeple have lost their jobs over the last year in this area alone.
Please no COBOL, any language that verbose and tedious should be avoided at all costs.
I know that “COBOL runs the world”, but teaching high school students COBOL is bound to put the off programming forever.
> computer inside and out and able write a basic program either in Python, Perl or even COBOL
Please no COBOL, any language that verbose and tedious should be avoided at all costs. I think it is possible to get the famous hello world program down to 50 lines in COBOL.
I know that “COBOL runs the world”, but teaching high school students COBOL is bound to put them off programming forever.
In my area schools link computer education with Microsoft products.
Word Processing = Microsoft Word
Spreadsheets = Microsoft Excel
Internet = Internet Explorer
Database = Microsoft Access
Operating System = Windows
etc etc etc
This is NOT a computer education, this is a MICROSOFT PRODUCT education mostly supported by our tax dollars and some (cough cough) donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its funny how these “donations” always seem to be in the form of software from Microsoft.
Of course that is merely coincidence.
Here would be a less monopolistic approach to computer education.
Word Processing = Microsoft Word, Corel Word Perfect, Open Office, Star Office, Abiword…..
Spreadsheets = Microsoft Excel, StarCalc, Gnumeric, Quattro Pro….
Internet = Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, Konqueror,…..
Database = Microsoft Access, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, Firebird,…
Operating System = Windows, Linux, Apple, Unix, FreeBSD…….
In a few years when we send our 3 girls to school, we will be choosing a school that has NO computers if at all possible. We both think that we had very good education ourselves with 0 computers and we never missed that one iota. I doubt that many schools could attain the levels we used to get in our schooldays since schools are so full of Feel good, no grading, Political Correctness as well as the crappy PCs.
The big mistake people are making here is that they assume what the kids are using today will be even slightly relevant when they grow up. IT Won’t!. Every body here over 30 knows how fast PC HW & SW has changed in the last 20yrs. Any PCs in school today will be very antiquated in 10yrs.
Now some senior kids should have access to PCs if they can really be used to further CS or science/math education, but I doubt they are any better thab handling flasks, test tubes etc.
A solid grounding in Mathamatics, Sciences, Languages, Arts etc is what they most need, & yet many US schools are often without any qualified Math/Science staff. Substituting PCs for absent teachers won’t cut it.
Computers will be everywhere of course, but they will become more & more invisible.
end of rant
Computers are increasingly important in many areas of our lives, so of course it makes sense for kids to learn more about them in school. But just putting the computers in school doesn’t solve everything.
The real problem lies in the nature of public schools, where most kids go. As long as the politicians control education, instead of parents and teachers, the kids will always get a second-rate education, computers or not.
IMHO, of course.
While I agree that schools spend too much time teaching secretarial type skills I am a little surprised that many students would have much need to use a tool like mathematica while still in high school. I knew other people who had used it in high school and as far as I could tell they weren’t at any real advantage in college math until we began to get beyond basic ODE’s where pencil and paper weren’t viable any longer. Even then it only took me a week or too to catch up with my familiarity with the program. Fourier transforms are a good example of where computers are great, but how many high school students really get that far before college? If the teachers don’t know what to use all this great technology for we are simply buying overglorified wordprocessors, which is a real waste. I think schools should have computers since there are still kids where their only access to the internet and a modern computer might be at school. That and most kids simply use email, games and im at home.
I agree tax dollars should not promote any one solution, regardless of how popular it is.
The claim that if all copyrighted works were to be free to public schools would bankrupt software companies is totally false. The long term Public gains offered by having smart well educated children would more than compensate the minimal short term gains to a few companies.
How much thought does it take to figure out that uneducated people tend to be poor? Do software companies sell a lot to poor people?
Thank God I am not President! Might get a better world instead of a few greedy people.
Computers certainly have a place in school.
The problem with most education systems is that the focus is on specific software, and not basic computer theory. Computer education today often means learning how to use specific software. Like others have mentioned, children aren’t being taught word processing skills, but how to use Microsoft Word. It’s not the same. Some children and adults are lost if presented with a customized toolbar. “What happened to my buttons?” It gets worse when they have to use different software.
It’s further complicated by the GUI. I’m not a CLI advocate – I spend almost all of my computer time in a GUI – but the bottom line is that the GUI abstracts the fundamentals of computer operation. The metaphors are not always consistent among operating systems – nor should they be – but an understanding of basic concepts can provide someone with the skills to operate any system.
Modern GUI based operating systems almost make it too easy when learning – who needs to know the difference between an executable file and a data file when you can click on the icon of a data file to launch an executable which will automatically open the data file for editing? Ah, but what happens when the operating system launches the wrong application or doesn’t know which application to open? I am blown away by the number of people who will call me to say, “I got your email but I couldn’t open the attachment on my computer.” This problem is unfortunately solved nine out of ten times by replying, “Did you try launching MS Word then using the open command?” Even worse, a discussion on detaching the MS Word document from the email might involve explaining how the email client saves attachments in an actual directory somewhere. “Really? And I can copy it to my desktop, which is just another one of these directories in this so called filesystem?”
“Computers ought not be put in classrooms.”
Jesus H. Christ! And this is on an OS Board! You should be ashamed of yourselves! Hey guys! I have a better idea! We should revert back to the Monkey Trial heydays when people were taught a good solid fundamentalist education! Yeah thats right. The theory of evolution is a bunch of crock and Charles Darwin was smoking crack when he formulated it! Bass Ackwards is what a lot of you are.
The >>>INTERNET<<< alone is worth the cost of a computer and a connection. In high school I used it extensively for research papers and learning. Hell I still do. Obviously you people do as well otherwise you wouldn’t be online. Sites like Math World (http://mathworld.wolfram.com/)
,Science World (http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/), etc.
You can find whole books on line in PDF format!
I certainly wouldn’t have gone on to major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science if it wasn’t for the computers my school and local library had provided.
No what we should be doing is getting younger people exposed to the Internet and computers in a classroom environment. Grade School school level. Teach them how to use it as an educational tool to enrich their education.
Don’t sentence your children or other peoples children to a bleak education just because you’re opposed to Wintel products or don’t want to pay the taxes to get computers into the classroom. Oafs!
This is an issue of job security for Micro$oft. Most schools do not have a 1:1 student:pc ratio. Most schools have a lab environment that is used on rotation for periods of mass instruction. Generally in the common classroom the “one computer in every classroom” movement provided just that, one computer in each class. That makes for a 25:1(ish) ratio for advertising exposer and product bias. For the cost of one peace of free software they are able to get a lot of people interested in their products alone. When those children grow up and hit the work force they will know one thing. Microsoft will make money from them their whole lives.
I commend organizations like linux.com, and sun microsystems for making an effort to provide a choice in the matter. All hype, religeon, and bias aside you must admit that it is truely important to be given a choice in the matter. If the schools never hear of anything else, they will quite obviously go to one who came and contacted them.
Uhmmm, jefro, without educational software companies, who is going to future develop these software besides a bunch of GNU hypies? I mean, what’s there to gain? How, in the “long term” are students are going to learn?
jefro: Thank God I am not President! Might get a better world instead of a few greedy people.
If there is anymore more greddier, it would be you. Try developing your software, hoping to earn a honest living out of it, and raise a family, then *bang*, a law is passed and all your money is gone.
If you like freebies so much, develop your own software, and give it away to the public domain, no law is stoping you. There is probably why you aren’t a president.