[Linux-aus] New Federal Govt's Education/PC plans

Neal Schulz neal.schulz at internode.on.net
Mon Dec 3 22:38:12 UTC 2007


I work for the Catholic Education System in Tasmania. Almost all our
schools are Mac based. This is my own opinion, not that of my employer.

Many people, when thinking about schools and IT apply business thinking
to the IT solutions. While modern schools do contain a lot of business
functions to keep them running, in the end the school is about
education, and IT solutions should be about what's best for educational

I actually think this is where Linux and Open Source software shines,
because it provides endless learning opportunities particularly in
technology based subjects at upper school levels.

While budgets are always tight in schools, I don't think cost of
licensing is an inhibitor in most instances. If a technology provides a
significant educational outcome then schools seem to find the money to
invest in it. Having said that, because there is no licensing cost for
Open Source it does reduce the barrier for usage. You don't have to
demonstrate the educational merit to gain budget approval... you just
install the software and use it. Tux Paint is used widely in our primary
schools as an example of this.

More and more, educational tools can be found on the Internet, and used
for free. I think this will continue to grow, and as it does all you
need is a browser and an Internet connection to participate. The OS
becomes irrelevant. This means Linux computers are a real option for
schools. We have a college trialling Linux Desktops in a lab right now.
As we advocate we should not forget that it's about education and our
focus should remain on the educational benefits.


On Tue, 2007-11-27 at 17:31 +1100, Phil Rhoades wrote:
> People,
> Given that the new PM, Kevin Rudd, has indicated that ensuring that
> every senior high school student has a PC is the number one priority for
> the new government - has there been any discussion about how the FOSS
> community is going to respond to this?  It seems we should be working on
> proposals immediately.  My personal view is that the government should
> make an in-principle decision to install a FOSS OS on the PCs and let
> the users (schools) decide if they want to change to a MS OS (at their
> own cost).  I think the PC should be just a wireless client that can be
> easily reset to factory defaults and all the apps and data should be
> handled centrally ala gmail etc.  Of course a FOSS solution like this
> will need a support network, maybe something resembling:
> http://www.healthnetwork.com.au/
> ie
> http://www.schoolnetwork.org.au/
> ?
> Regards,
> Phil.

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