John BORIS on 14 May 2012 08:43:00 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Can FOSS help school districts in trouble?

Speaking from experience here with our High Schools I see the biggest
roadblock in using Open Source is going to come down to support and
training. One of our schools was using Moodle and then just decided to
go to a commercial package, much to the dismay of the SySAdmin in that
school. Not all Open Source products are the same and some come with
better documentation and support than others. The other issue I see is
the technical Support in the school is transitory. They are there for a
while and then leave for greener pastures due to money (I don't blame
them), training (which is non existent in a lot of districts) or
frustration. So if you do implement an Open Source project that the
person keeps up and that person leaves you essentially fall back to
square one unless the new person that comes in can handle it. 

Some districts are better than others but from my experience they (the
people making the buying decisions) look to the flashy commercial
product on their state contracts.

It is a great effort as there are a lot of great programs out there and
they should be looking to these. When I first got involved in Education
I as told that doing anything in education is like turning a battleship,
it isn't easy and takes a long time. So be prepared.

John J. Boris, Sr.

"Remember! That light at the end of the tunnel
Just might be the headlight of an oncoming train!"

>>> "K.S. Bhaskar" <> 5/13/2012 6:08 PM >>>
Our local school district is in trouble.  No, I am not thinking of
financial woes right now, although money certainly is at the heart of
evil.  When money was less scarce, they acquired with pride the latest
technology - proprietary of course - some of it because the IT
makes selections on autopilot, some of it useful but not essential,
some of it downright wasteful and misleading.  Now that money is tight,
school district is considering demoting senior teachers instead of
taking a
long, hard look at the IT budget.  So, the trouble our school district
in is ongoing woolly-headed decision making by the administration: they
still spending more money on IT than they need.

It being better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, I would
to help showcase free / open source software in K12 education, to
IT costs without compromising educational performance - indeed perhaps
to enhance the educational experience since FOSS does not set
boundaries as to what one can learn.

I think it makes sense to start with a single school, too impoverished
even think about serious IT spending, and then move to a suburban
district and then to the school district for a city ... on our way to
domination, of course!  This is a journey, not a destination.

As much as solving technical issues, we need to document and
 So, from the start, we need to get the press involved.  We need to
about it and we need to be able to reach out to the public, Government
others to talk about it as it goes.  So we need people with talent
technical skills.

To that end, this post is to see who shares my interest in such an
endeavor.  Thank you very much.

-- Bhaskar

Windows does to computers what smoking does to humans
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