Rebecca Ore on Fri, 11 Jul 2003 13:10:20 -0400

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Re: [PLUG] Community Service Project (Devil's

On Fri, Jul 11, 2003 at 11:28:38AM -0400, ( wrote:
> advocate)
> I can't believe you guys are debating giving C or Perl to low-income 
> elementary school students.  These are kids who are probably not even 
> reading at their proper grade level.  I bet that a good bunch of these kids 
> won't even be able to read the man pages for some of these packages, let 
> alone put them to use.

I think it's *very* hard to predict what low-income elementary school
students will be able to do.  From the desktop, the developmental stuff
is pretty much invisible; any kid who decides to poke around under the
hood should also have the tools for that.

> IMHO, they need simple software that helps them learn and doesn't get in 
> their way.  A web browser, a simple word processor, chat client, simple 
> email, educational games.  Some good examples have already been 
> mentioned.  There might be more at the K12-Linux project home page.

If you want a truly simple word processor, there's Ted.

If they don't have access, web browsers and chat clients can't be used.

Basically, if the machines are going to be used in the classroom, a way
to network them all together would be good.  If the children are taking
these home, then the students who do have net access will need
follow-ups to get them up and running on dial-up.  Any child-adminned
machine on a permanent connection (DSL or cable) especially  needs a
router between it and the Internet.

If the parents aren't computer literate themselves, access to the net
has some possible problems -- the whole business of kid's curiosity
about certain things that adults don't necessarily want to have them
see: porn sites, political sites, etc.  Probably better to get a
net-capable machine up at school where it can be monitored.

If the computers aren't connected to the net, burning upgrade CDs for
the children might be an on-going project, say a once a year Christmas
fest for PLUG (not that I have a CD-ROM burner at this point, but I'd
find it a good project once I do get a CD-ROM burner).

I also wouldn't be surprised if some elementary school aged children
wouldn't be able to socially engineer their way on line -- so probably
not having modems in the machines without parental okays would be a good
idea, too.  I suspect that a lot of families would get net access if
they had a machine, but in anything where something is going home with a
minor, we'd need to get the parents involved, and take the opportunity
to educate them a bit, too.

Rebecca Ore
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