Do any of you remember the old Scholastic Keys? This software, by Tom Snyder and still around, sought out to make Microsoft Office easier for K-8 students. It featured add-on tool bars, additional clip art, and additional tools to help students with using word processing documents, spreadsheets, drawing, and PowerPoint. The trouble though, as always, was the additional license around $30-60 more on top of MS Office license, depending on volume per machine or user. Maybe in the days of Computer Skills tests just measuring use of those tools you could justify it, but these days, not so much.
Recently though, I discovered Open Office for Kids, or OOo4Kids. Love that abbreviated name! You can find their page at http://wiki.ooo4kids.org/index.php/Main_Page. On the page you can download it, look at their community portal, and see some videos. The main video and their description, show how OOo4Kids is geared toward kids aged 7-12 and based on OO source code. Like most software, it is available in many languages and also works on Linux, Mac, and Windows–the TRIFECTA!
As with anything, I like how it totally slims down the options and provides an aesthecially pleasing environment for kids. They also redid the opening splash page, toolbars, and other options. What really excites me is their future plans. Not just for the great functionality they will add, but just the fact that they do talk about the future. This seems like it will ensure their future. And speaking of that future, they share adding wizards, a reorganization of menus, a new Linux interface (woohoo!), and more.
So I definitely see this as a great add-on to those using Open Office in their schools. Microsoft continues to want $100+ for a home user and at least $50 for each school user for MS Office. I think we will continue to see more and more folks looking at Open Office, especially in the educational realm. Open Office 4 Kids could help those transitioning to a younger age.