View Full Version : Chilliwack BC Schools Go Linux!

July 3rd, 2009, 04:16 PM
My dad (an 82 year old Ubuntu user) sent me this link about the Chilliwack BC School District (http://www2.canada.com/chilliwacktimes/news/story.html?id=d45d46ab-9a6f-4fa6-a04d-e6bc1cd44bf3) (#33) moving to Linux and Open Source.
In early 2008, School District No. 33 trustees voted to replace virtually all 1,200-or-so computers Chilliwack elementary school students were using for a cost about $600,000.

The major challenge, beyond replacing the equipment, has been making sure the students and staff know how to use the new gear--more specifically the new computers' operating system.

The district embarked on a retraining plan known as Coaches on Demand: Instructional Technology, through which a core of teachers taught their peers about the new Linux system, which is replacing the Mac operating system.

"This is one of the success stories that I'm really happy to bring to the board," former teacher and vice-principal Graeme Wilson told the board of education at their latest meeting. "Every single student in these schools got instruction."

Wilson provided leadership for the team of Ken Chater, Mark DeBruyn, Jason Epp and Tara Jardine, who held labs over the past year or so in most of the district's 21 elementary schools in order to introduce the new system to the students and staff. He complimented the teachers on their work to train other elementary teachers.

"The important thing is it's peer-to-peer training that's going on here," he said. "When it's peer-to-peer, people are more willing to learn."

The reason the board decided to invest in the new technology last year was that the Mac computers were quickly becoming out of date and the Linux system provided a cost-effective alternative to Macs and their operating systems. The district followed in Kamloops' footsteps by making the change and set up pilot projects at two schools before making the major changeover.

All but three schools have done training for the new Linux system. There were some delays with Rosedale, while two schools opted out. Yarrow chose to keep its Macs while Central decided on a laptop option that uses a Windows operating system.

The team, minus DeBruyn who could not attend the meeting, outlined the program for trustees. This involved going to Kamloops to learn the Linux system, initial meetings with local staff, and eventually workshop sessions and individual training for everyone to get used to the new technology.

"These are different computers. They look a little different when you're first starting out," Chater said. "We went through all the schools and went through all the classes."

The program, for the most part, just wrapped up two weeks ago, according to Jardine. During this time they were able to train staff and approximately 5,000 students and also devised lessons for the district's online database.While it does not state which Linux distros they are using, they might be the same ones as Kamloops School District #73 (http://www.sd73.bc.ca/district-operations.php/page/linux-in-education/) (Debian and Red Hat).

Exciting times! YAY!!!

July 3rd, 2009, 04:24 PM

August 10th, 2009, 03:54 AM
Hi Sydbat (and everyone),

To answer your question... we're using Kubuntu (8.04 LTS) on the server and running DRBL (http://drbl.sf.net) to provide diskless client terminal services to end-user workstations.

Nineteen schools/servers, ~900 terminals, and ~6,000 users.

Kevin Traas, IT Manager
Chilliwack School District #33

August 10th, 2009, 08:33 PM
YAY!!! Now, if you could only come to Calgary and get the school systems here to change...

August 10th, 2009, 08:39 PM
Great news

August 10th, 2009, 08:42 PM
Kubuntu eh? ^.^ Not the best distro to introduce the KDE enviroment...but meh. if it works for ya then great. Beats windows or the overpriced mac any day. ^.^

October 25th, 2009, 06:02 PM
Ubuntu Vancouver LoCo is interested in any supporting documentation (case studies, financials, etc.) that were used to justify a successful switch to Ubuntu in your school district.

Please email!

Ubuntu Vancouver Buzz Generator

October 25th, 2009, 06:38 PM

This so made my day, thanks for sharing....

I've actually wanted to compose a letter to send to the local schools around here, using Edubuntu as a key point.

how would you propose I go about it? maybe we can come up with a template and then each of us can send out letters :)

October 25th, 2009, 07:17 PM
Awesome! I wish they started using Linux in Vancouver schools.

October 25th, 2009, 07:52 PM
I wish the school system in my county would switch to Linux. Heck, I'd go before the school board and make a presentation to promote it. Problem is, there's a non-traditional high school in that system that recieves a good chunk of its funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. If they catch wind that the school is switching to Linux...yeah. It might not turn out so well for them.

October 25th, 2009, 08:51 PM
Go Bruins!