edubuntu for day-care centers, philippines

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edubuntu for day-care centers, philippines

maning sambale-2
edubuntu-devel,

Hello!

This letter is a bit long but please read on ....

We are a small unit in a University currently assisting poor
communities here in the Philippines for social action/community
service/extension work [1].  We have community partners in which we
assist in providing basic social services.  Recently, I wrote a letter
to our administrators in providing old PCs to our partner day care
centers.    These day care centers provide affordable primary
education to very poor children.  My personal initiative is driven by
my experience as a casual user of Ubuntu, the hole in the wall project
[2] in India and by my 4 year-old daughter urging me that their school
should have "tux" in their PCs. I was delighted when the University
pledged to provide old PCs (initially 6 units)!

As I was the person who initiated this (through the letter), I am
tasked to create a brief operational plan in order to coordinate the
tasks needed.  The basic plan is outlined below:

  1. installing free and open source educational software;
  2. designing resource materials and lessons plans;
  3. designing a monitoring mechanism to assess the effectiveness and
proper use of the equipment;

 I am writing this list to get feedback/comments/recommendations on
our plan.  Please find time to answer or point me where to get
responses.  I would also like to note that my experience with Ubuntu
and GNU/Linux (much more a sysad or a day care teacher) is very
limited and I have been googling for solutions for some time.

Here goes...

Installation and other things:

I am suspecting (no news from the University IT dept right now) that
the computers which will be donated will have 64-128 MB ram at about
5-10 gig of HDD without a CD drive and modem.  I am currently
reviewing the the Edubuntu docs [3] for advise in the installation.
My plan is to install Edubuntu on a stand alone workstation (LTSP is
not an option at the moment).

1. Will edubuntu run "comfortably" on a 64-128 ram?  Should I use xfce
as my desktop environment instead?
2. How much partitioning ratio should use for system, swap, home (I
intend to put /home on a separate partition)?
3. Which programs/applications should I remove to free up space (such
programs that may not be suitable for day-care envi for instance, or
those software pertaining to LTSP)?
4.  As part of the project I would also like to monitor how the PC are
being used (both by teachers and students).  One mechanism is to save
the syslog (possibly on a diskette) and send them to me for analysis.
How do I make a short scripts that does the following: create a text
file of programs accessed by the user (much the same as a gcompris.log
file) and regularly save them in a designated directory in /home on a
predefined dates (maybe monthly or bi-monthly)?  Any tips/experience
in doing this for child-related programs?  I want to know the
frequency of use of the programs as well as their level of
understanding.
5.  Since this will be a stand-alone workstation w/o a cd and Internet
connection, how do I regularly update and fix?

Supplemental resource materials:
We also want to support the teachers in designing and creating lesson
plans and resource materials that will make full use of the equipment.
 Some thoughts here are:
1. How much time should the students be in the computer for a given week?
2. On what certain subject matter should computer use be appropriate
for inclusion?
3. Any links references on computer use for ages 5-8 years old?
4. As this is an offline workstation, we also plan to archive some
interesting web materials that the children can browse even though
there is no internet connection.  Some interesting things I found on
the web are the International Children's Digital Library [4] and
matemania - hurtigmeny [5].  However, most are copyrighted and does
not allow archiving the whole site offline.  Can you give me some
links I can look into that can be freely distributed?  It could be
reference materials, interactive games (flash maybe), e-story books,
etc.

That's about it for now.  Please respond on any of your
thoughts/experiences. If in case this project would prove successful
we intend to request for more old PCs and distribute them to other
community managed schools, wish me luck!


Cheers,

Maning


 ----
 [1] http://cosca-dlsu-cwts.wikispaces.com
 [2] http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/
 [3] https://wiki.edubuntu.org/HowToCookEdubuntu/Chapters
 [4] http://www.childrenslibrary.org/
 [5] http://www.matemania.no/matemania_m/index2.html

--
|---------|----------------------------------------------------------|
| __.-._  |"Ohhh. Great warrior. Wars not make one great." -Yoda     |
| '-._"7' |"Freedom is still the most radical idea of all" -N.Branden|
|  /'.-c  |Linux registered user #402901, http://counter.li.org/     |
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Re: edubuntu for day-care centers, philippines

Jerome Gotangco-2
Hi Maning,

Your email is welcome. I am from Manila btw, we could probably chat
some time. Regarding your inquiries, I'll try to answer some:

>
> Installation and other things:

> 1. Will edubuntu run "comfortably" on a 64-128 ram?  Should I use xfce
> as my desktop environment instead?

Unfortunately, the GNOME desktop is quite heavy on resources, since
Edubuntu defaults to GNOME, your experience will be quite slower than
usual, especially if you have a slower CPU. Plus the fact that some of
the apps require the KDE core components to run (all of KDE-EDU).
However, you can install Xubuntu then install the Edubuntu apps.

Another option is to create a new installer with the specific apps
that you would like to have installed by default to have a uniform
setup. I could probably help you with this.

There is a a spec and current work in progress to have Edubuntu
default to XFCE but we won't see this happening till Edgy+1 (next
year). This is still in flux though.

> 2. How much partitioning ratio should use for system, swap, home (I
> intend to put /home on a separate partition)?

It depends on what work you want to do. The installer can
automatically partition your setup depending on your RAM and HD space.
Or you can also create a custom partition setup.

> 3. Which programs/applications should I remove to free up space (such
> programs that may not be suitable for day-care envi for instance, or
> those software pertaining to LTSP)?

A desktop/workstation install does not install any LTSP component so
you can choose this.

> 4.  As part of the project I would also like to monitor how the PC are
> being used (both by teachers and students).  One mechanism is to save
> the syslog (possibly on a diskette) and send them to me for analysis.
> How do I make a short scripts that does the following: create a text
> file of programs accessed by the user (much the same as a gcompris.log
> file) and regularly save them in a designated directory in /home on a
> predefined dates (maybe monthly or bi-monthly)?  Any tips/experience
> in doing this for child-related programs?  I want to know the
> frequency of use of the programs as well as their level of
> understanding.

We haven't really focused on this much although we are aware of the
need for performance metrics to gauge student performance.

> 5.  Since this will be a stand-alone workstation w/o a cd and Internet
> connection, how do I regularly update and fix?

I don't see much of a need to update this if the machine will never
ever be connected to the net. The updates are more geared towards
security and the current apps in Edubuntu work fine as is. However, if
you have plans to connect this to the net, updates are a must. We've
also released an updated version of the 6.06 CD which contains all the
updates since it was released.

> Supplemental resource materials:
> We also want to support the teachers in designing and creating lesson
> plans and resource materials that will make full use of the equipment.
>  Some thoughts here are:
> 1. How much time should the students be in the computer for a given week?

Well it really depends on your policy. I've been told in ABS-CBN
Foundation that there is a standing policy of no computer access for
kids 10 below in their shelter and focus on teaching them with
traditional teaching methods. It's more of an ideological issue rather
than technological

> 2. On what certain subject matter should computer use be appropriate
> for inclusion?

If you noticed on Gcompris, the focus of the apps are geared towards
pre-school/elementary with the basic teaching tools (math, alphabet,
etc). I am not an educator by profession so I cannot really give an
opinion on this. If there are any educators on this list, can you give
suggestions?

> 3. Any links references on computer use for ages 5-8 years old?
> 4. As this is an offline workstation, we also plan to archive some
> interesting web materials that the children can browse even though
> there is no internet connection.  Some interesting things I found on
> the web are the International Children's Digital Library [4] and
> matemania - hurtigmeny [5].  However, most are copyrighted and does
> not allow archiving the whole site offline.  Can you give me some
> links I can look into that can be freely distributed?  It could be
> reference materials, interactive games (flash maybe), e-story books,
> etc.

Wikipedia content itself can be downloaded and used for offline use
[1], as well as Wikibooks [2] and those included in the public domain
which can be found in Project Gutenberg [3].


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Database_download
[2] http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:Database_download
[3] http://www.gutenberg.org/


Hope this helps

Best,

Jerome

--
Jerome Gotangco
Email: [hidden email]
Jabber: [hidden email]
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Re: edubuntu for day-care centers, philippines

Oliver Grawert
hi,
On Fr, 2006-08-18 at 15:39 +0800, Jerome Gotangco wrote:
> There is a a spec and current work in progress to have Edubuntu
> default to XFCE but we won't see this happening till Edgy+1 (next
> year). This is still in flux though.
its about an option in the installer, we wont default to xfce but you
will be able to select a lighter desktop at installation time :)

ciao
        oli


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Re: edubuntu for day-care centers, philippines

maning sambale-2
In reply to this post by maning sambale-2
Will, Jerome & the rest of the list,

Thank you for your thoughts.  Will reflect on them for quite some time.

> > 1. Will edubuntu run "comfortably" on a 64-128 ram?  Should I use xfce
> > as my desktop environment instead?
> Jerome covered this quite well. In my experience, using xfce over gnome on
> an "older" machine made a noticeable difference.

Will probably try xfce there is another I saw on the forum Ubuntu Lite
[1] although its not really an official ubuntu

> Monitoring application usage can be a helpful exercise but can also be
> misleading. Using programme access logs as such does not really give an
> indication of use. Children (and adults too I guess) can have an inquisitive
> tendency to open up everything but not necessarily use it.

Yes, you're definitely correct.  Primary to my intent is to ensure
that the PC's are actually being used by the primary
beneficiaries/users.  Not to discredit IT education in our country and
the capacity of our community partners, but there are some cases here
in the Phil. of projects initiated by the government and some by
philantrophic orgs like PC donation for education not optimally used.
In some cases computer labs are locked and equipment gathering dust
because beneficiary institutions fear that students might damage the
equipment.

We really want students (especially) and teachers to tinker (and
hopefully crash ;) )  with this machines.

> The effectivity of a PC lab is not best measured by accounting for its usage
> but rather for looking at its intended impact:

Suggestions for this is most welcome.

>  friend of mine put it quite nicely: there are "recipes" and
> "ingredients" in this arena.

Yes, I've been trying to look for this recipes and ingredients as well [2]

> I'll continue to dig around for some resources that might help you.
Please do.  Thank you for  responding.

> jerome writes: I am from Manila btw, we could probably chat some time.
Glad to see more Pinoys in FOSS arena.

----
[1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_Lite]
[2] http://del.icio.us/esambale/child_ed

--
|---------|----------------------------------------------------------|
| __.-._  |"Ohhh. Great warrior. Wars not make one great." -Yoda     |
| '-._"7' |"Freedom is still the most radical idea of all" -N.Branden|
|  /'.-c  |Linux registered user #402901, http://counter.li.org/     |
|  |  /T  |http://esambale.wikispaces.com|
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Re: edubuntu for day-care centers, philippines

maning sambale-2
Hello to all edubuntureros and gcompris users,

Just to give you some updates on my progress on our FOSS PC for day
care centers project, and of course ask a few questions.

The first two units of PC have been given and its currently under
testing inside the volunteers room of our office.  The best seller
games so far for our volunteers are: gcompris' geography game and the
kturles

Unit specs:
CPU Dell gx110
Monitor ADi provista dv-355
RAM 129 mb
Hdd 10 gb

One problem we have encountered so far is that the monitor displays a
"signal  out of range" problem right after the the edubuntu splash
screen.  No worries though because these have been commonly addressed
via the user forums. the solution I tried so far is:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

(did not tinker with conf file yet)

One pc is using the default edubuntu-desktop and another uses xubuntu.
 We will then compare for its usability, speed, etc.

We are also trying to compile resource materials for the project, a
few things we were able to find so far are the following:

2006 Wikipedia CD [1]
CIA World Factbook [2]

I have contacted a number of children's websites for offline archiving
of their materials.  A few have responded positively but for most
webmaster addresses, I did not get any response as of this time.  I'll
just try others anyway.  We want to focus on Filipino materials but
any thing you think would be important we can always squeeze them in.

Related to this, do you have any suggestion where in my filesystem do
I save these materials? I intend to have these materials accessible to
all users with a read only permission (/usr/local perhaps?)

Cheers,

Maning
----
[1] http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/charity-news/education-cd.htm
[2] https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html

--
|---------|----------------------------------------------------------|
| __.-._  |"Ohhh. Great warrior. Wars not make one great." -Yoda     |
| '-._"7' |"Freedom is still the most radical idea of all" -N.Branden|
|  /'.-c  |Linux registered user #402901, http://counter.li.org/     |
|  |  /T  |http://esambale.wikispaces.com|
| _)_/LI  |http://www.geocities.com/esambale/philbiodivmap/philbirds.html   |
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Re: [gcompris] Re: edubuntu for day-care centers, philippines

Bruno Coudoin
Le vendredi 08 décembre 2006 à 14:14 +0200, Jonathan Carter a écrit :

> We have a bunch of local educators that are interested in creating
> custom modules and lessons for GCompris. Is there currently any kind of
> guide on how to create lessons?

The most advanced documentation we have is here:
http://gcompris.net/wiki/index.php/Developer%27s_corner

If you enjoy python, there is a API description here:
http://gcompris.net/docs/en/python.html

Basically, this i rather basic programming, we use the gnomecanvas for
the graphics which make it very easy to program. For more feature, we
can use GTK objects so that we also have power when we need some.

> Even if that's not easy, would it be helpful if they just drew up what
> they want, do the artwork and the logic behind it, and then it can be
> coded up by someone with the relevant skill?

Well, you may be lucky if someone is interested. Like Jose mentioned, we
have a wiki where we document activities ideas:
http://gcompris.net/wiki/index.php/Ideas_of_activities

But first, please tell us more on what you want to do.

I joined the edubuntu-devel list.

--
Bruno Coudoin
http://gcompris.net Free educational software for kids
http://ofset.org    Free educational software for all
http://toulibre.org Logiciel Libre à Toulouse


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Re: edubuntu for day-care centers, philippines

Davis_75
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In reply to this post by maning sambale-2
This is an interesting post. I am glad to have these details here. Well, my kid is growing up and I too want to send him to a good Phoenix kindergarten but I am quite confused in selecting an academy for him. Please share some tips for finding a best academy for him!