How do we learn?
When I was in elementary school, the method of work submission was a notebook and a standard number two pencil. Handwriting, not computing, was a daily class. A teacher told me once that the pencil was empowering so use it for all it is worth.
Microsoft products were not used in my school until my final year of high school and that was the first time I used Microsoft Works for Macintosh. The teachers saw my enthusiasm for technology so I was sent to private university. There I learned how to use Microsoft Powerpoint with other 16-year-olds. The university offered to give me credit for my study if I could pay the $15,000 a semester to enrol there full time. Coming from a middle class home, I went to a public community college instead for a 10th of the price. What did I use as an office suite my freshman year of college? The market share holder at the time: Corel Word Perfect.
Money is a huge factor when parents and children are selecting a school at all levels.
Today’s schools in America are strapped for cash. Assuming the school has computers, technology refreshes are expensive. Donations from the community are absolutely necessary. What do students need to today to do their school work? At least a browser, email, and an office suite.
A school with no computers in 2010 is like a student without a pencil.
A donation of a computer meets only a small fraction of the need. You need some software to use: an operating system, a web browser, and an office suite is a good start. Typing tutors, art design software, multimedia, math and reading games are also in demand. Then enter the communication software like email services, blogs, and class management software. Unless you opt for a Free and Open Source software, it could cost about $2000 per workstation – easy. The good news that GNU/Linux operating system like Ubuntu offer these packages are available at no cost.
Before you say that Microsoft branded products like Windows, Exchange, Office, and Sharepoint are a requite for successful productive adulthood, what did you use in school? My answer: I used pencils.
Do you think you are up for the challenge of setting up some Ubuntu labs in your school district?
Say you have ten Ubuntu systems to donate. They are in top working condition. You install all the software the teachers and students could ever need. The principals buy-in to this plan. The teachers are on board. You decide to split the hardware between the two schools.
Great but it all takes resources….
The systems need somewhere to go, some power to use, a network to plug into, a place for students files, an internet connection, some way to print, backups, and some people to setup maintain the systems. It gets very complex, very quickly.
Who has the track record to deliver?
Partimus is a California Ubuntu LoCo Team and 501c(3) non-profit which has successfully deployed Linux on the desktop in 6 Bay-Area schools.
With everyday people like Partimus at work, Microsoft will lose a majority market share.