Sunday, July 22

Mini VAR Case Study: Ubuntu Linux in K-12 School

By joe 3 comments

OpenSourcery CEO Brian Jamison


OpenSourcery CEO Brian Jamison, a solutions provider in Portland, Oregon, has embraced Ubuntu as a potential platform for high school teachers and students. One recent project included a Portland high school. The outcome: Students love Ubuntu, while some teachers are still adjusting to it. Here’s an overview.

OpenSourcery has rolled out Ubuntu Linux on 60 student laptops and five instructor laptops at a Portland-area high school. The school’s project requirements were:

  • Ability to run a comprehensive office suite
  • Web access and browsing
  • Support for Google Earth
  • Support for video editing and sound editing

Rather than going the traditional path, OpenSourcery recommended Ubuntu laptops from System76. The total solution included OpenOffice, Zimbra Email and an in-school WiFi netowrk for collaboration and file sharing. “The wireless worked great except when all kids saved their files at the end of each class,” recalls Jamison. “We’re working on a new solution to overcome that problem this year.”

For security, OpenSourcery embraced three applications — Alacarte, Pessulus and Sabayon — that locked down Ubuntu’s menu system. Still, Jamison concedes that there’s no perfect way to secure a laptop. “When you put a laptop in someone’s hands it’s only a matter of time until they figure out how to make it do something else,” he says.

So, what were the outcomes. “For students, the solution just worked,” says Jamison. “For teachers, there were issues.” For instance, an early issue related to projector support sourced some teachers on Ubuntu. Also, some teachers claimed that OpenOffice was “just too different” than the old standby, Microsoft Office. Also, there wasn’t ample time to research potential open source alternatives to some of the school’s legacy applications. As a result, the five teacher laptops were set-up as dual-boot systems running Ubuntu and Windows XP.

Bottom line: “They saved untold amounts of money and we only saw 15 trouble tickets in nine months,” says Jamison, who spoke at Ubuntu LIVE in Portland, Oregon.

Comments (3)

  1. […] TechIQ » Archive » Mini VAR Case Study: Ubuntu Linux in K-12 School OpenSourcery CEO Brian Jamison, a solutions provider in Portland, Oregon, has embraced Ubuntu as a potential platform for high school teachers and students. One recent project included a Portland high school. The outcome: Students love Ubuntu, while some (tags: open-source education linux ubuntu) […]

    links for 2007-08-29 « The Wayward Word Press, August 29th, 2007 at 1:21 am #
  2. […] der Hochschule von Portland scheint bei den Schülern so ein Training nicht mehr notwendig zu sein, denn diese haben die System76-Laptops mit Ubuntu alle positiv aufgenommen. Nur die Lehrer hatten […]

    Diego’s Blog » News from Ubuntu Live Konferenz, November 30th, 2007 at 3:12 pm #
  3. I think schools are some of the greatest place to work with creative technology solutions, and it’s good to see that Linux has found a place in this particular school community. I think this is definitely a case that proves that technology and business solutions are most successful when they are tailor-made by responsible consultants and professionals to meet the unique needs of a particular business (or school!) instead of just designed around what everyone else is using or what seems to be the most “popular” solution for other organizations at the time.

    Computer Consultants Secrets Blog, December 30th, 2007 at 9:39 am #

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