Warrington School/Free resources

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Reflecting on.

This segment is to use the open authoring approach

Free with a capital F, means Freedom, as there is no F in proprietary.

Rationale behind the Warrington GNU/Linux goal

Working together - reliably
  • Warrington School uses GNU/Linux software as it has proven to be reliable, easy to use and install
  • It is cost effective as the software is Free and is supported to run on older computers
    • Wringing as much life out of them as possible
    • We even run it on old computers donated to the school
  • Fits readily in the New Zealand Curriculum
  • Schools should be allowed to choose their operating systems and software and should not be disadvantaged for doing so
  1. The Ministry of Education presently pays $62 per computer a year for proprietary software licences for schools choosing this software
  2. Official Information Act Question
  • By paying equal amounts to schools using Free software this money remains in NZ
  • Older computers are supported - saving money and the planet
  • Our community of teachers, parents and children are empowered to install and run GNU/Linux software on computers
  • It allows the school and its community to alter the software for its own purpose and to share this with others
  • We recycle old computers donated to us for school use and give spare computers away to our community

Warrington School Gnu/Linux Goal

Overall Goal

  • To create equity for New Zealand schools who choose to use Gnu/Linux instead of proprietary software.
  • To remove the barriers created by the Ministry of Education for schools wishing to use Free software.

1.GNU/Linux (Ubuntu or Edubuntu is Warrington's choice) has been as easy to use and at least as reliable as either Microsoft or Apple computer systems. Therefore the New Zealand Ministry Of Education needs to look at what other nations are doing to implement Free computing in their countries. UK [1] Switzerland [[2]]

2. Gnu/Linux installed onto Educational computers could assist the New Zealand economy. Licensing fees that the Ministry of Education now pays to Microsoft on behalf of Microsoft license users should be paid equally to GNU/Linux users. If this was the case then Warrington School would receive the same money that is presently given to Microsoft users but this money would remain within New Zealand. E.g if Warrington was using 15 Gnu/Linux computers, and the Ministry of Education is paying Microsoft $50 per computer license then the Ministry of Education should pay this $50 per computer to Warrington school. [3]

3. Without access to either a knowledgeable technician, helpful parent, 0800 help desk or the ability to access help forums that allow for fast and easily understood fixes it could remain too difficult for many schools, teachers and pupils. The Ministry of Education help desk [4] will presently only handle queries from either Microsoft or Apple users.

4. Possible solutions for an 0800 help desk may be the Otago_Polytechnic already well versed in Open source Education providing the infrastructure or alternatively the Ministry of Education could purchase support through the Canonical Global Support Services team. [5]

5. Dunedin as a city having a plethora of Gnu/Linux experts may be able to offer technical assistance to the Otago Polytechnic - brokering of a voluntary or paid agreement to be negotiated.[6]

6. Warrington School could become a model for using Gnu/Linux, as being at the "monitor face" of education it would be able to trial both equipment and interoperability of Free software and document their progress via this wiki.

7. The substantial environmental savings made from recycling computers that were destined for the land fill (because they had become unsupported by Microsoft) and supported by Gnu/Linux as either stand alone machines or as LTSP. [7] [8]. Money saved from using less electricity with a LTSP or being able to use older computers and keeping them from entering landfills could be researched further from the Sustainability Advisor at Otago University or similar at the Otago Polytechnic or as a(funded) thesis for a student based in Dunedin.

8. Funding from the Ministry of Education available for Extending Higher Standards Funding [9] or similar should be directed into creating a model appearing from this wiki. Funding for the establishment of an "Free Software Model" from the Ministry of Education would entice other learning institutions from NZ to work collaboratively on this Gnu/Linux goal. Money would not be spent on "physical resources" but on systems and people to set up the systems.

9. Creating protocols that would allow free Gnu/Linux computers into the homes of Dunedin school pupils or other suitable recipients by the local Gnu/Linux group with computers being replaced by the ICT departments at Otago University, Medical School, Dunedin City Council etc. This scheme is presently happening in a small way from Warrington school. Assistance in both infrastructure and procedure would need to be created on a wiki so both the installer of the Gnu/Linux computer and the recipient of the Gnu/Linux computer understood the correct procedures. This could begin as a voluntary scheme until such time as it became unwieldy for a group of volunteers to manage then could be taken over by a Trust who could administer its further conception.

10. Software released by the Ministry of Education for schools such as the "School Journal" search CD Rom and Ministry accredited School Management software should be usable by Gnu/Linux users. [10]

Free computers - how to.....

Warrington Community Internet Access

Warrington residents access to computers, Internet and meeting space

  • Warrington School Ubuntu room
  • Outside school hours of 8.30 - 4 Mon-Fri
  • With permission from the principal - available during school hours on request
  • Room and equipment usage to be explained
  • Procedures for vetting of users will need to be established - access to a key = $20 ($5 key and $15 for Police vetting)

Computer access:

  • Will be Gnu/Linux (Ubuntu or similar) and free software.
  • Internet access available after an Internet agreement signed.
  • Able to save to and from desktop and memory stick, use all office programmes including printing to black and white copier (10c and colour 30c).

Computer access: Computer access:

Free software

Why Schools Should Use Free Software

  • Free software can save schools money.
    • Free software gives schools, like other users, the freedom to copy and redistribute the software, so the school system can make copies for all the computers they have.
      • In poor countries, this can help close the digital divide.
  • Schools have a social mission: to teach students to be citizens of a strong, capable, independent, cooperating and free society.
    • Schools should promote the use of free software just as they promote recycling.
      • If schools teach students free software, then the students will tend to use free software after they graduate.
        • This will help society as a whole escape from being dominated by mega-corporations.
  • Schools should refuse to teach dependence.
    • Offers of free samples to schools gets communities addicted.
      • The same discounts will not be available to these students once they've grown up and graduated.
  • Free software permits students to learn how software works.
    • Some students, want to learn everything there is to know about their computer and its software.
      • They are intensely curious to read the source code of the programs that they use every day.
        • To learn to write good code, students need to read lots of code and write lots of code.
          • They need to read and understand real programs that people really use.
            • Only free software permits this.
  • The deepest reason for using free software in schools is for moral education.
    • The most fundamental job of schools is to teach good citizenship, which includes the habit of helping others.
      • In the area of computing, this means teaching people to share software.
        • Schools, should tell their pupils,
“If you bring software to school, you must share it with the other students. And you must show the source code to the class, 
in case someone wants to  learn.”


May 2009 - Warrington School Is Now Running Only GNU/Linux


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