View Full Version : Schooling with (Ed)Ubuntu?

February 7th, 2006, 03:22 PM
Hey, I've had an idea running around my head for a while now and wondered what you all thought and think we can do about it.

FYI, I am homeschooled. I use a program/curriculum called Switched-on-Schoolhouse (http://www.aop.com/sos/index.php). It's a really cool program and it has a lot of cool things like automatic grading, grading, custom sheduling and so on. Anyway, this was one of the things that kept me tied to Windows, because this program depends on IE, Shockwave, and .NET. Wine did not work and only a Win2K in QEMU would work. Now, I'm in my last year of school, so this won't be a problem anymore, but I alway thought that it would be nice if this would work in Ubuntu. Then I thought of a little more...

I came up with an idea, of this WHOLE schooling system, similar to this, but for Linux. This curriculum is pretty expensive (around $200 for the set of 5 subjects I do) and thought it'd be super awesome to have a completely free curriculum. My thoughts are to create a curriculum, with the basic subjects of Math, Language, History/Social Studies, and Science. And also have the system/program easily extendable to add other subjects, for instance I do Bible (being a Christian), but also adding things like Health or Spanish/French/Other Languages. The whole curriculum would be available online, and the program that would be used to actually do the work would be able to read the whole thing online, or even download the curriculum for those without internet access. So let's say, I'm doing school on my Ubuntu computer right? Then I gotta take a trip or something. I have to leave my computer but am able to take my laptop, but it only runs Windows. What to do? I could pop in an Edubuntu disc having my School program, plug in my USB key which has all my school settings/work saved on it, then grab the curriculum online and continue my work portably! That and be really cool for people to just be able to do school for FREE.

So I'm wondering some things though...

What are the curriculum requirements for this kind of stuff? I assume there are guidelines to have a legal curriculum be accepted by your state/country as an actual education right?

Are there people out there that would be willing to write up the curriculum? I don't expect to start now and today and have it ready soon, but over the years eventually have a complete schooling system for Kindergarten-12th grade.

What cool things could we have the school program do? There are a lot of things I see in my current program that I wish they'd fix, but what cool features would we able to add to a nice GTK app or something? :-D

So...what do you think?

February 7th, 2006, 06:45 PM

Wikipedia is also trying to do something like this already, at the moment its just an idea coming form their WikiBooks sister site, but the more people that take part the better.

Wikiversity (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikiversity)
WikiBooks (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page)

I know for the UK there are certain bodies (AQA, Edexcel) that will set curriculums, for AS/A2, GCSE's etc. But I honestly don't know if the goverment have direct control over the actual content of the curriculum.

A university on the other hand, once it has university status is free to alter and change its degree courses as they see fit. Mostly to make themselves competative to other universities, so they can get the maximum amount of students onto each course.

I whole-heartedly support your efforts, as I believe education should be free and unhindered by those who want to better themselves.

Good luck to you and those at Wikiversity.

February 8th, 2006, 01:43 AM
Wow! That looks awesome...definitely something like this is what I'm thinking, but not just for those about to enter college...

February 8th, 2006, 06:15 AM
Dear friends,

Seems a great idea to have an open curriculum.

Here is my thought on this topic.

Curriculum for whom?

I think we should settle this issue at the very begining. It seems and rightly so that Edubuntu has been primarily targeted for school students ie for students from Pre Nursery till Higher Secondary (Class XII in India). Also if we take into consideration the state of education in major part of the world especially in the under developed countries, we need to concentrate on school education first.

So I feel that first we should concentrate on developing a curriculum for school childrens ie from pre-nursery till class XII (age group 6 to 18).

Legal complicacies:

I don't know about other countries, but I know the legal problems in India. Here the board exams conducted by govt are only recognised for future education or job. There are two board exams - one at class X and another at class XII. The syllabus of these two board exams are totally state controlled.

I think in most of the third world countries the situation would be the same.

Therefore, for countries like India the developing whole school curriculum is not that much relevant. Because most of the students are going to govt schools where the curriculum is developed by the govt.


However there are many possibilities within this kind of legal framework. And that pertains to the methodology through which education is imparted in govt schools. Edubuntu could be a new medium of learning for the students.

Therefore, one option could be to modify or alter the edutainment/ educational programs so that the same software programs can be used at different levels by students of different class or age group.

At the same time we may require to develop new educational programs as well.

However there are certain other topics in which applications can be developed. Language learning applications is one such thing. There could be full fledged applications with rich multimedia content for learning languages like English, French, Spanish and any other.

We have found that students in villages tend to be very weak in science subjects, specially mathematics. Therefore, we can identify such areas and then develop new applications to meet such needs.

All these applications need to be module-based in terms of age group or class.

Another important issue is to impart IT skills to school children. We have found that the major problem with Edubuntu here is the lack of an IT learning curriculum based on class or age group. We have initiated a work in this direction and have been developing an IT curriculum totally based on Edubuntu for school children, covering prenursery to class XII.

Hope I made myself clear. Comments will be most welcome.


Raj Sarkar

February 8th, 2006, 07:58 PM
Yea raj, my idea is really split into 2 parts:

The curriculum
The program

The curriculum will obviously be very modular. So many languages and subjects in the world, and people will be need to be able to learn their own specific stuff. So the curriculums will be modules that you can download locally or access online, perhaps in a way like the Wikiversity. My thoughts were that this whole thing would target people from 6-18 (which is when the American school kid is usually in school).

Second is the program, the program will be able to read the curriculum, ask you questions, grade them, give quizzes and tests, print report cards, etc. But of course you would need to start with the actual subject stuff first. Perhaps, maybe a framework would be created instead? SOmething then where KDE or Gnome could create their own program, which integrates even better into their own environments (like KDE's full suite of educational programs).

February 9th, 2006, 06:19 PM
The syllabus of these two board exams are totally state controlled.

I think in most of the third world countries the situation would be the same.

How would that be a legal problem? Doesn't the government send out public documents saying :

"This year in subject x - You will need to cover A, B and C, to be prepared for the exam we will set"

Surely this information isn't secret? All that needs to be provided is the information that provides the information A, B or C. The exam can still be set by the government and they can still control what people learn.

//Off topic

After saying "they can still control what people learn", Does any government have a right to choose what we should be learnt or exposed to?

//Back on topic

January 7th, 2010, 04:51 AM
Has there ever been any movement on this?

A friend of mine does administration for a private school run by our church using the AOP "Switched-On Schoolhouse" software, which is written in C# but so far doesn't seem to work with Mono. Google doesn't even seem to recognize Mono the runtime vs mono the disease! WineHQ rates the application as "garbage" due to how it isn't even able to run the installer... Right now he's holding on to his WinXP corporate licenses, but sooner or later the upgrade treadmill is going to force his hand, whether he likes it or not. I've mentioned various ideas with Ubuntu (or other form of Linux) and he insists that it isn't an option because they need the AOP software, and that only runs in Windows.

Hence I've been looking around trying to see if there are any alternatives to the increasingly buggy and bogged down 'featuritus' ridden Switched-On School House suite. (Ed)Ubuntu is a nice start, but really isn't even close to being a full suit of interactive educational software. People in an educational field really need something with top-bottom integration that can be set across a network (like group policy, etc) and a way for the teachers to oversee what the students are working on and grade their progress. A couple of educational games while nice for parents, simply aren't going to do it in an educational setting.

What I was wondering though, was whether anyone has looked into seeing if Ren'py (http://renpy.org/) could be extended into just such an educational platform? It can already do simple , is extensible using python, and can [url=]play video files (]quizzes[/url) from within the application enviroment. To me it looks perfect for something that could function as a educational tool, just needing someone to start taking it in a slightly different direction. Unfortunately I cannot be the person for such an undertaking because I don't know how to code... ^_^;

So, has anyone else been thinking along these sort of lines, and trying to pull something like this together?


December 16th, 2011, 11:42 AM