A while back I heard about an initiative being run in Limerick where I’m from about using Ubuntu in the schools this naturally got my attention. I popped out to met Jennifer who helps run the school for kids.
Firstly some background on the Learning Hub – The Northside Learning Hub was founded as a charitable company limited by guarantee in October 2007. The NLH was formed with an overall aim of working in partnership with local education providers, families and young people to develop and implement practical and solution focused responses to the high levels of educational disadvantage and early school leaving experienced by local communities on the Northside of Limerick City.
I spoke with Jennifer on how she was getting on with using Ubuntu and how the kids found it, but I was curious to see if they had any issues. I asked them some questions as I was in a bit of a hurry to head out to UDS and then over to the UK, so this post was due out a bit sooner.
Q: what made you use Ubuntu
A friend of ours was getting very excited about Ubuntu and gave us a talk about it. The staff were really won over and we decided that as a community education facility it was really important that we walk the
walk and start using Ubuntu and introducing it all our learners. We wanted to show all our learners ( 9 years upwards) that there is world of free and amazing applications that they can access. We also wanted to show schools and teachers that these applications are free to use and are an very accessible resource for their schools.
Q: How have things change and how do you find it?
We haven’t found it difficult to migrate at all! However, we’ve had some hitches with email and calendars but I’m sure they will be resolved in time. As far as the younger learners are concerned they don’t care what
they are using as long as its fast and does what they tell it to do!
Q: Issues you’ve found when using Ubuntu
Determining the correct setting to use on all machines to ensure that you have a reliable and consistent performance when using networked printers. We work with a number of different operating systems and so
ensuring that we have consistency when manipulating and displaying data can be a challenge, this is not an ubuntu or open source specific issue but a challenge of opening in a multi platform environment.
I’m very glad to see more schools are looking at alternatives to teach and looking at open source software as a tool they can use in the classroom!