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Re: Call for education help [was Re:Fwd: [Fsfe-uk] Hello]]

From: Chris Howells
Subject: Re: Call for education help [was Re:Fwd: [Fsfe-uk] Hello]]
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 18:04:39 +0100
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Hi Richard,

On Tuesday 23 April 2002 5:23 pm, Richard Smedley wrote:

> I presume ICT here means teaching Excel and MS Word :-(

Don't forget VB, Access, and VBA scripting ;)

> When I did computer studies at school (20plus years ago)
> they actually taught us how a computer worked and how
> to program - a bit difficult now that you can't see the
> source code for most of the apps that schools use.

My only knowledge of the current situation is of GNVQ IT. They do study 
building computers from components, installing Windows (of course), and 
installing software on Windows (sticking a CD-ROM in the drive and letting it 
auto run, I suppose).

> So we make it "no one was ever fired for buying Linux" ;-)

I wish :)

> > that dynamically changes the Win desktop settings (9x/NT/2k) to improve
> > access for visually impaired children.

What exactly does this consist of? Since I'm involved in KDE Usability, I 
would be very interested in implementing such a thing in KDE. The KDE 
Usability project is active at the moment, although KDE accessibility does 
not seem very active. I would be quite interested in combining the two 
efforts though.

> What sort of legislation is there in this country to
> make computers accessible to all pupils? GNOME2 has
> an extremely good accessibility toolkit - and of course

/me must learn more about this GNOME 2 accessibility stuff sometime

> It would be relatively trivial to make a schools
> GNU/Linux distro (2 years ago ICDC only asked for
> 10,000 GBP from becta to pilot this). Something
> along the lines of the debian-based "Linex" used in
> Extremadura
> http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,51994,00.html

I was very interested in doing this a while back, and asked on the 
suse-linux-uk-schools list for comments. I planned to base it of either Red 
Hat or Debian since they have the kickstart and fai utilites, respectively, 
for doing mass intallations. If I had gone ahead with it, I would have based 
it on Debain for many reasons.

Basically the conclusion that I came up with was to use some kind of GNU 
cfengine based scheme to easily allow admins to roll out changes in system 
configuration to all the machines.

Unfortunately I had to give up my plans due to a lack of time :(

In the meantime, I'd love to see Red Hat, MandrakeSoft or SuSE more 
aggressively promoting free software in the UK education market.

> A follow on release with a Hurd "kernel" would
> be a great teaching tool 8-)


- -- 
Cheers, Chris Howells -- address@hidden, address@hidden
Web: http://chrishowells.co.uk, PGP key: http://chrishowells.co.uk/pgp.txt
KDE: http://www.koffice.org, http://edu.kde.org, http://usability.kde.org

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