Teachers Need An Open Source Education: Page 2

Posted January 27, 2009

Matt Hartley

Matt Hartley

(Page 2 of 2)

In the meantime, areas such as Central/South America are making the switch to Linux in record numbers. Grade school students in much poorer countries are learning to use their own problem solving skills to bypass operating system "gotchas" as they come up, while U.S. high school students are working on leveling up their characters in World Of Warcraft!

Even in nearby Canada, I see news every month that a new school district is switching over to open source alternatives as Microsoft is simply not where they want to spend their educational budget.

Now stop me here, but something seems wrong with this situation. We have U.S.-based teachers and system administrators explaining to young tech-minded students that they need to use Windows, should they wish to compete in the world today. Also keep in mind we are hoping to prep these same students to compete in a world where Linux and Windows are being heavily used.

Granted, we often see articles claiming how Linux has weak usage numbers. Yet when pressing on as to how in the world you track an operating system that provides no real means of tracking it, those same media sources seem to suddenly clam up. In other words, no one really has any hard percentages and those making up pie charts with shadowy claims need to consider the fact that they’re not telling the whole truth.

But I digress. With the current educational budget that U.S. schools have at their disposal, it seems like there must be plenty of money to spend on software and hardware upgrades! The savings in having U.S. schools still running Windows 98 and 2000Pro is clearly providing more cost effectiveness than hiring multiple operating system ready administrators that can work with more than just Windows, right?

It's not like these admins are spending more time dealing with malware than improving the computing environment for students? Oh wait, they are.

A simple proposal

Let me make a proposal. How about allowing kids who wish to learn more about using Linux do so, on their own time. Perhaps even by giving them some extra school credit, as is sure beats boring them to tears with subjects for extra credit that they’re not showing any interest with anyway.

This costs the schools nothing, best of all it serves to help with the student's problem solving skills.

In addition, I would suggest that teachers and the school’s Microsoft trained IT staff consider studying up on the subject of Linux before trying to pass futile judgments over it.

While I wholeheartedly agree that Linux is not a platform for everyone, it is something that is gaining widespread adoption worldwide and those who are able to use it along with proprietary operating systems will be a much stronger position to succeed within the work place.

Besides, any Linux user can plop themselves in front of a Windows box and get to work in a matter of a few minutes. Can we say the same for any casual Windows user trying to do the same thing with Linux? Not without a "Big E" on the desktop, most likely.

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Tags: open source, Linux, Linux desktop, MySpace

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