A little over two months ago, one of Moodles best partners announced the release of a suite of products called ELIS http://www.eschoolnews.com/tech-solutions/all-press-releases/index.cfm?i=60118 The products and principles of this organization seem oddly familiar. They support open source for schools, so does the openSUSE for Education project. They support a lower more reasonable TCO for Education Technology, so does the openSUSE for Education project. They really do a great job of supporting these ideals, so does the team from the openSUSE for Education. Thanks to both efforts open source Education Technology is becoming vastly superior choice.
We would like to announce, The Education team is meeting on 2009-08-26, 14:30 UTC. We would like to invite all interested parties to join us in discussing what this years openSUSE for Education group will focus on.
The openSIS team is proud to announce that the conversion from Postgres to MySQL is nearly complete. Check it out at http://opensis.sourceforge.net We have a few small bugs in the SQL left in some of the less used features. For the most part the project is on track and we have started to divide the team in two with one half working on bugs, the other working on Moodle integration. By mid fall we hope to have a “push” mode of integration with Moodle version 1.9.5 and hope to have work begun using Moodles new 2.0 version with SIS API.
We have IMHO created what will be the next “killer” , “must have” application in the education administration venue. Paired with the offerings produced by my good friends and teammates of the opensuse-education team. I think we will be producing a wonderful tool for all humanity. A free education software suite. Much has been done with the ideals founded here, Linkat, and the Edubuntu add-on are just a few. I hope it keeps going , for the children’s sake “let’s make a difference”!
Please take a look at the new forum for the opensuse-edu project.
Hopefully the start of a lot more communication and growth!
This week I attended SELF (South East Linux Fest) at Clemson University here in South Carolina. It was a great day! I met and worked the openSUSE booth with Joe Brockmeier aka “Zonker”. There were lots of enthusiastic attendees both from the Linux and Education communities. All of the Educators that came to visit the booth where extremely pleased with the work the EDU team has completed and If I had been able to supply them, many would have taken copies of the EDU Li-F-E disk and Sugar disk that I had running on my laptop. Cyberog and the team really have hit a home run! I had with me a thin client setup and did several demonstrations on the ease of installation and setup. Kiwi-LTSP is one of the most exciting products for Education I have seen in a long time. Easy-LTSP, the openSUSE configuration utility for LTSP, is by far the easiest configuration utility available to LTSP users. Combine Easy-LTSP and Italc (a computerlab monitoring suite) and in 5 minutes a teacher can setup a computer lab and either display the lesson on each\all screen or capture a students screen for display to others or simple monitoring of all screens.
I sat through a couple of presenters and I was most excited to hear Chad Wollenburg from VA. Chad is a kindred spirit , he has been slowly moving his district to open source for a few years now and he started much the same way most of us have, his school district could not afford to relicense Microsoft office. He too, had to show that Open Office was compatible and comparable to MSOffice and explain the over 200,000.o0$ savings to his district using small steps and insider advocates as his method of operation. I am glad to meet so many people dedicated to reducing the “criminal” costs of licensing.
Our project itself past another milestone this week, I am proud to present the OBS-Education forum. http://forums.opensuse.org/obs-projects/obs-education/ Please feel free to post questions specific to openSUSE Education development, bugs, enhancements, etc.
Almost three years ago now I was given the privilege of creating a sub project of the openSUSE linux project. That project is known as “openSUSE-EDU” aka opensuse-education. The idea I had was to gather open source software that was specific to education environments and use the many talents of the openSUSE community and it’s full time staff to optimize the software for openSUSE. My first Teammate and mentor into the world of Linux Projects was, Lars Vodgt. Lars is one of the original SuSE linux team and a co-founder of the “openshoolserver” a project that spun off from SuSE just before the Novell buy out , and is today a very useful and powerful tool for educators in Europe. He is wonderful leader, teacher and guide. He seems to handle almost every detail of the project like it is just a minor addition to his daily work, although we all know that the list of software titles and daily updates are far from trivial.
My first concern was in the area of LTSP and the desktop applications that would be used with it, many schools in the US were already utilizing the efforts of ” K12LTSP”, a specialized version of LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project), to reduce the cost of classroom computing. I wanted a SuSE linux version of LTSP because I dreamed of having a ubiquitous login process to my Novell network and SuSE \ openSUSE were the only Linux distributions ever to carry the Novell Client for Linx. Somehow, somewhere, someone brought “Cyberorg” aka Jigish Gohil to the project. Cyberorg has taken us from my simple directions to install ltsp 4.2 as an add on, to having completely integrated, award winning packages that include the GSOC work “easy-ltsp” ( http://en.opensuse.org/LTSP) . Cyberog is now a leader in LTSP innovation and openSUSE’s Kiwi operating system image creation utility, with which he has created several ground breaking Live disks for educators (http://en.opensuse.org/Education/live)
My second concern, and where I spend most of my time, lay in the administrative tools available to schools that could drastically reduce licensing overhead. With the help of Lars’s and others, the repository now includes several administrative and curriculum enhancing titles such as Moodle, ClaSS, openBiblio, Koha and openSIS. openSIS is personal to me as I have been working the idea of a free and open sourced student information system \ Academic ERP (http://en.opensuse.org/Education_ERP) since the very beginning, and I am it’s Project Manager. With these tools it is my hope that we can build a service community that will help educators everywhere build and utilize a modern WEB 2.0 site that not only enhances school management but engages the student bodies to their full potential with communication and collaboration tools native to their technology experience.
Over the last 3 years, much has been accomplished by the many contributors to openSUSE-edu, this year seems to be highlighted by new members who are bringing us the most complete Sugar desktop outside the OLPC project (http://en.opensuse.org/Sugar). The Sugar desktop for those who don’t know is an invaluable resource to elementary school computer integration programs, it uses iconic metaphors to simplify navigation while providing a multitude of challenging and useful programs.
I hope that you will join and contribute with us towards these goals by visiting http://en.opensuse.org/Education and subscribing to our mailing list at http://en.opensuse.org/Education/Communicating#Mailing_Lists
Well, this is my first use of this tool so this will be short, I want to see how what I type gets presented and where, so bare with me.
Last week was openSUSE community week, For the Education Team things were pretty much “status quo” we have an exciting team.
We have announced several new features, new live disks and achievements. Please visit us at #opensuse-edu on irc.freenode.net anytime