More Ways That Open Source Could Benefit Schools

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 05, 2008

In a previous post, I cited some data on how doable it might be to put a Linux netbook or notebook in the hand of every kid in school, paying for the effort by getting schools to go paperless--or near-paperless. With Linux-based netbooks such as the Asus Eee PCs dropping well below $400 for basic systems and stocked with lots of good open source software, every kid could have a personal computer. This post caught my eye because it cites some good software applications that could boost Linux in schools. Here's the upshot.

Datamation's post on Linux-for-school software cites the following applications as examples of how teachers and administrators could use free tools to inexpensively automate school-oriented process and interaction with students:

  • MyClassroomHelper is closed source classroom management software that is Linux supported. Students can track grades, assignments, and information online with it at any time.
  • ClaSS is an open source student information management system that can be used by school administrators and teachers.
  • iTALC is freeware that lets teachers see what's going on on networked computers and offer remote control assistance to students on computers.
  • OpenAdmin for Schools is an open source, web-based application for everything from tracking attendance to building and delivering report cards.

As lofty as all the goals above are, I doubt if we'll see schools adopt Linux, open source and the concept of a computer for every kid anytime soon. For one thing, just as the paperless office never quite took shape, it's even harder to get schools and teachers to consider going paperless. There are also long-standing prejudicial attitudes among school administrators, especially when it comes to Apple's systems and software. Despite the cost savings and efficiencies that open source could bring to many schools, parents should keep planning to shell out for those Macs.