In our district, we utilize netbooks, specifically Asus eeePCs, with our elementary classrooms. When I arrived to the district, I took a lot of pleasure in the fact that the existing eeePCs ran the Linux, stock OS instead of Windows. While the Xandros built for the eeePCs made netbooks usable, it limited us in many ways, including building a school specific image and networking difficulties. I began to work on an Ubuntu OS based on the UNR. Of course, I titled it FCSbuntu after my school system! It became a strong OS, with good applications geared toward the K-5, especially 3-5, school.
For our middle and high schools, I would never probably use the FCSbuntu as it exists now. Much of the software would not be appropriate for older students. Enter Uberstudent. Uberstudent, available at: http://uberstudent.org/, provides a 6-12 focused Ubuntu-based, operating system. Project Manager Stephen Ewan shared the project with me after he read my article that appeared in Full Circle Magazine. In looking at Uberstudent version 0.9, you can definitely tell with the applications, that they focus on a much different audience. Besides the 6-12 I mentioned, you can definitely tell the main focus is higher education and researchers. For instance, they include Zotero, the browser based citation and notetaking tool. I used Zotero on Firefox a few years ago, and definitely that that add-on will benefit many students. Of course you will need some kind of mind mapping, and the include Semantik for that purpose. Other things include some Google tools, Gnome Do, the one touch searching tool, and an interesting application, Mendeley, that I am not familiar with. In briefly looking at it, I will definitely spend some more time with it. Uberstudent’s description of it is:
like iTunes for research papers
Very intriguing indeed!
I definitely will spend some time with Uberstudent, seeing just how it can fit into our district. I definitely see some application of it. I think many districts can benefit from what they are trying to do. And it’s Linux! What else do I need to say! I just really appreciate that in the OSS world, you can make specific distros based on a theme or purpose.