While not using Drupal too much yet, (http://drupal.k12opensourceclassroom.org/), I continue to see and hear about many schools using some type of CMS as their website, and increasingly this CMS is Drupal. I am currently listening to Drupal Podcast Lullabot (http://www.lullabot.com/podcast), which is a nice, friendly podcast for tips and information. Besides a great theme song, this podcast provides many valuable tips in creating a site and adding features to it. Check the k12 Open Source Classroom Drupal shortly as we begin to add more to it!
A great story just came through my reader–(http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/A000A8F459252EDECC25747F00172D28). Seems a school in New Zealand finally become frustrated enough at Microsoft that they will complete switch to Linux by 2010 schoolwide. The administrator then also wants to receive the money that would go toward paying software licenses and use that to hire a technician to further develop Linux and OSS applications. W00t! I love his ‘sampling’ Linux before total deployment:
Two years ago, Parker installed Linux on a couple of computers that were no longer supported by Microsoft. As Parker, who doesn’t have a technical background, found the operating system easy to install and use, the school gradually moved over to the open source platform. A parent of one the pupils has helped with the Linux project and has been “a mentor for myself”, says Parker.
Very appropriate that my first session at NECC is David Thornburg’s session on Open Source. I began reading his thoughts years ago, in my Masters’ program at NCSU. In fact, his book that I just received an autographed copy of today, was one I bought for a course. While not thinking much of it at the time, things definitely came full circle now.
David did a great session on the need for investigating open source as a way for school districts to bridge the budget gap. Makes a lot of sense, as budget dollars continue to dwindle. When you couple that fact with paying for annual licensing fees for your operating system, then the cost of an office suite, and finally multiply that by the number of computers in your school or district, you will find some significant savings that can be filtered into hardware or personnel. When you further look at all of your additional software products, things such as proprietary image manipulation software, proprietary graphic organizers, and so many other things, you can cut huge amounts of pork out of your technology budget.
David went on to speak about some model cities (San Diego) and states (Indiana) who are opening embracing Open Source and Linux in their schools. Indiana, from his slides, appears to be using Linspire, which is quite interesting, as they were just acquired by Xandros. Yes, the Xandros OS that appears on the eeePC from Asus. Indiana even conducts their own Open Minds conference for K-12 Education each fall. A colleague of mine attended last year, and I believe I will attend this year. Lots of Linux-y goodness!
More to come from NECC!