Technology developments at school keeps budget low, introduces new academic tools
Rhema Christian School has installed the Linux open source Ubuntu operating system on its computers, providing cost-saving benefits and a variety of educational computer programs to the elementary school.
The technology developments were driven by a need for the Peterborough school to upgrade its hardware and software, says Grade 8 teacher Pete Oussoren.
During the summer the school received 80 new computers through the organization Computers For Schools, which refurbishes computers and provides them to schools at no cost. Classrooms are equipped with two or three computers and there is a lab with 36 machines.
The computers have a dual boot, as the school installed the free Ubuntu operating system while keeping the Windows XP that came with the machines so students can continue to use the programs that require the Microsoft operating system.
“(It’s beneficial because) kids learn that there are different kinds of operating systems out there,” says Oussoren.
Rhema also changed its server from a Microsoft 2000 server to a Linux Ubuntu server.
Ubuntu is an operating system that is community developed, collaboratively designed and updated. It includes all the applications needed for a personal computer, including word processing, web server software and programming tools. It is free to download, use and share.
According to www.ubuntu.com, Ubuntu is an African word that means “Humanity to others” or “I am what I am because of who we all are.”
Through having no cost for the new computer hardware or software, the bulk of Rhema’s technolgy budget is spent on expertise, explains Oussoren. The school has hired an information technology expert John Benjamins and hardware expert Pete Boonstra.
Oussoren says Linux is ideal for schools because there are a variety of open source programs available for free. The school is using Edubuntu, a version of Ubuntu designed for classrooms.
“The wonderful thing about Edubuntu is it comes with a whole package of great educational software,” he says, adding these programs include keyboarding skills, mapping and vocabulary games.
Rhema primary teachers are quickly seeing the value of the Edubuntu programs and how to integrate it into their current program, he notes.
“There’s a lot of excitement among the teachers,” he says.
To learn more about Ubuntu visit www.ubuntu.com.