Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Education through Edubuntu

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

To quote the site, "Edubuntu is a version of the Ubuntu operating system suitable for classroom use. As an educator you'll be able to set up a computer lab, or establish an online learning environment, in an hour or less -- then administer that environment without having to become a fully-fledged Linux geek." New version Development Release: Edubuntu 5.10 Preview was announced on September 12, and this gave me the opportunity to look at Ubuntu - with a twist. As an educator I could evaluate edubuntu not as an operating system, but as a classroom tool. How effectively does edubuntu fit that role?

First off there were a few niggles with the install that hampered initial use, one being difficulty configuring the chroot LTSP step. This bombed out a few times, but with persistance it finally finished. I'd almost given up, but to the victor come the spoils.

Upon boot one finds a gnome environment with no set default wallpaper. Perhaps this is in the theory of lessening distractions and one can be set. It ships with an edubuntu wallpaper in hues of burnt amber as well as an ubuntu "starburst" in shades of brown. The menu is minimized and does not containing an entry for a terminal. I can see the point of not putting one in it for students to play around in, but perhaps the teacher might need it. One can add it with the add applications or edit menu apps, but this teacher got stuck with the root password. The install either didn't ask to set up one, or I somehow missed it.

In the gnome desktop one does indeed find some nice applications for various classroom activities, but they are lumped together in the menu under 'education'. I'd like to see them sorted per subject and possibly grade level. Some of the applications were appropriate for higher elementary whereas some were more appropriate for the lower grades and still others were more appropriate for middle school. In a statement as such as that it sounds like a good cross section decision, until one starts opening them. There's not enough of any one type of application per grade level to do any kind of real planning using the system. Some have some level adjustments, but some of those didn't seem to work to change the level. As an occasional tool perhaps edubuntu can have a place in your lesson plans, but not in any kind of on-going learning routine. In this early stage of development, it's still somewhat limited. As an occasional practice or positve reinforcement application, it has potential. It does come with some games that could be considered educational as well.

I have to wonder how many school systems would allow the installation of the system, I know mine wouldn't, and think perhaps a livecd would make more sense. But anyway, the included KDE applications could be fun and educational. Some present as games and others as skills practice.

        

I particularly liked the Periodic Table of Elements. With customizable views to include states of matter, acid behavior and even the timeline, I could see a real use in this app primarly in the "introduction to" setting, but also for later reference. KBrunch is also a nice math operations practice tool. Including exercises for comparisons, fractions, and factorization, this application could make practicing those unpopular topics more fun. Kedusa could be really nice as a quizzing or even testing suite, but it seemed to have some rendering problems. Questions pertained to a given object, but the said object didn't appear. One only had the question to answer. But this is really starting to turn into a review of the KDE applications, which isn't the intended focus. Most of these we've seen before if you installed that package from KDE. I think I can see the logic of using gnome (version 2.12, btw) as an environment to present the KDE apps. It's simplier in terms of settings and in the ubuntu system, it opens (logs one in) quickly and seems quite stable.

        

Other applications included are gaim, evolution, the OpenOffice suite, gimp, and many others you'd expect to find in an operating system.

So all in all, I have mixed feelings for the edubuntu offering. On one hand it's a wonderful idea and I love any excuse to get linux into the classroom. I'd like to see more variety in applications and some grade level or subject matter groupings. Both would be ideal. Lesson planning takes up a large amount of the educating responsibility and such menu groupings could add some time savings. At this developmental level I can see some potiential and the language choices are a plus. Any type of project of this manner would need localization support. I would also prefer to see it in an (installable) livecd format. I really like the fact that is available for ix86 and ppc, as I use ix86 at home while our school system uses macs. Having this kind of choice is very helpful. If the root passwords step is truly missing, this needs to be added for sure. Perhaps hiding the menu option for a terminal emulator is an agreeable decision, but it needs to be available. My final thought is that I find this idea exciting and plan to keep an eye on this project.

OSDir has some additional screenshots.

Shame Shame

Nice folks should never teach children to play with Gnome, it could have negative effects on them their whole lifes. Smile Sal

re: Shame

lol... I hear ya!

But like I said, I think I see the logic. Well, number 1, it's the default on ubuntu and most of the libs and stuff is already there - that's probably the reason they did it. But also, there isn't much a kid can change in the gnome settings - they'd get bored in 5 minutes. But man, a kid could waste all afternoon playing around in kcontrol!

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

re: no root

Augh sh*t. I remember reading about that now. <konk> That explains it. You can tell I never messed with those ubuntus much.

I'm not sure I really like that idea.

Thanks!

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu MATE - Pimp your desktop to perfection

Ubuntu MATE has made a quantum leap of innovation in the past several months, offering a wealth of visual and functional changes and a mindblowing level of flexibility when it comes to customization. You really have the ability to implement anything and everything, and all of it natively, from within the system's interface. The list of options is so long that it can be overwhelming. Hopefully, this little pimping guide puts some order into this fine and rich chaos. Ubuntu Bionic isn't the most refined distro, but it sure has the almost infinite possibilities to make it appear and behave how you want it. You can have a classic desktop one day and then a MAC-like thing the next and then Ubuntu Unity the day after that. It's all there, very slick, very elegant. Well, it's time for you to do some exploring. See you. Read more

Games: Atari VCS, NEC, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – Beast of Winter, State of Mind

  • Atari VCS RAM upgraded to 8GB and Atari confirm you can put a normal Linux distribution on it
    While I remain quite sceptical of the Atari VCS, I'm still pretty interested in it as a Linux gaming device. Atari recently did a Q&A blog post detailing some interesting information about it. The post is written by Rob Wyatt, the System Architect for the Atari VCS device. If the name Rob Wyatt doesn't ring a bell—they were the original Xbox system architect.
  • Atari VCS Product Q&A #1
    At this time the developer program is not open yet and it will come online in the coming months. If you have an application in mind you can start today, make sure it runs on Linux at HD resolution using standard runtime libraries, the changes from this to the AtariOS will be minimal and mostly related to application startup and application packaging. In the very near future we will release documentation on the AtariOS which will detail all the runtime components we support as well as libraries for Linux that mimic the AtariOS.
  • Is it worth $129 to relive your NES Duck Hunt glory days?

    But the folks behind the Modern Mallard Kickstarter campaign figured out a way to overcome this problem -- by using a speedy processor to rewrite the game's code in real time, counteracting the lag. The project includes a hardware mod for both the original Duck Hunt game cartridge and Zapper that makes it compatible with LCD, LED and OLED TVs. Note that the campaign doesn't include the game cartridge or Zapper, so you'll have to use your own.

    You can read more about how the mods work at the bottom of the Kickstarter page.

  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – Beast of Winter due out early next month
    The first piece of expansion content will be released 2 August. Expect to get caught up in a different realm, the Beyond, and face new enemies and puzzles.
  • Futuristic thriller 'State of Mind' has a new story trailer and releasing a day earlier than expected
    Daedalic Entertainment's futuristic thriller 'State of Mind' has a new story trailer out and a new release date. When we mentioned it last month, they gave us a release date of August 16th. However, they seem to have moved it forward as it's now going to release on August 15th. This will come with same-day Linux support!

Security Leftovers

  • Data breaches show we’re only three clicks away from anarchy
    An IT glitch afflicting BP petrol stations for three hours last Sunday evening might not sound like headline news. A ten-hour meltdown of Visa card payment systems in June was a bigger story — as was the notorious TSB computer upgrade cock-up that started on 20 April, which was still afflicting customers a month later and was reported this week to be causing ruptures between TSB and its Spanish parent Sabadell. Meanwhile, what do Fortnum & Mason, Dixons Carphone, Costa Coffee and its sister company Premier Inn have in common with various parts of the NHS? The answer is that they have all suffered recent large-scale ‘data breaches’ that may have put private individuals’ information at risk. IT Governance, a blog that monitors international news stories in this sphere, came up with a global figure of 145 million ‘records leaked’ last month alone. Such leaks are daily events everywhere — and a lesson of the TSB story was that cyber fraudsters are waiting to attack wherever private data becomes accessible, whether because of computer breakdown or lax data protection.
  • UK security researcher Hutchins makes renewed bid for freedom

    British security researcher Marcus Hutchins, who was arrested by the FBI last August over alleged charges of creating and distributing a banking trojan, has made a fresh bid to go free, claiming that the US has no territorial jurisdiction to file charges against him for alleged crimes committed elsewhere.

  • Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security

    An open letter by Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky, John Dean, Governor Bill Richardson, Walter Mosley, Michael Moore, Valerie Plame, and others.

Containers or virtual machines: ​Which is more secure? The answer will surprise you

Are virtual machines (VM) more secure than containers? You may think you know the answer, but IBM Research has found containers can be as secure, or more secure, than VMs. James Bottomley, an IBM Research Distinguished Engineer and top Linux kernel developer, writes: "One of the biggest problems with the current debate about Container vs Hypervisor security is that no-one has actually developed a way of measuring security, so the debate is all in qualitative terms (hypervisors 'feel' more secure than containers because of the interface breadth) but no-one actually has done a quantitative comparison." To meet this need, Bottomley created Horizontal Attack Profile (HAP), designed to describe system security in a way that it can be objectively measured. Bottomley has discovered that "a Docker container with a well crafted seccomp profile (which blocks unexpected system calls) provides roughly equivalent security to a hypervisor." Read more