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Friday, May 18, 2012

A Game-Changing Proposal: Ubuntu for students.

IMPORTANT UPDATE!!!! End to this project, but a birth of a new one.  I reassessed my limits.

There's this thing about students: they take technology for granted.  It's nothing too disheartening, except for the tech-savvy ones who seem that technology is more than a commodity.  The 21st century endowed us a new way to access information, and to do so, it shouldn't be just endlessly chatting with a friend through facebook or ceaselessly playing games on the iphone, hungry for more.  Insatiable appetite is a byproduct of the consumer world.  Why not change that?

Today, during lunch, I had the honor of meeting David Montes, a senior and the school's computer guru, to talk about something quite drastic.  Two days ago, I had a facebook chat with him about the idea of Ubuntu running on all the systems within the school, from student cart laptops to the school administration servers.  Although we saw some implications, we reached a stunning conclusion, that it actually should be done if we want to take learning about computers to a whole new and exciting level.

My mind felt pressed with ambition and sudden delight.  When I finally got to talk to him, we had much to discuss about this project.

For one, David, friendly with the administration and well acquainted with the tech head of the school, tells me that the servers in the schools are a complete mess.  There is little centralization of data transfer, too many reboots necessary, and unreliable service.  Then, he considers the printers, to which David tries fixing constantly for many teachers running on XP computers (in fact, almost all of the teachers at John Marshall High School run Windows XP in their computers)!

I added onto that with the precarious state of the supposed "computer science" and "informational technology" classes the school has. Students of the school are only excited to take the class for an easy A, a terrible incentive.  Also, the classes themselves don't live up to their name as I expected because it seems that these computer awareness classes are limited to office word, excel, and powerpoint processing and browsing the web.  Students are already capable of these things, hello?  Maybe the school doesn't understand that anymore.

Then there is Ubuntu.  A shimmering hope in this enterprise world, Ubuntu has quite a chance against the long-standing, yet crumbling Windows XP.  XP has been around forever, consistently unstable, and almost obsolete in this technology-driven world. But Ubuntu, to this very day, was driven and supported by an ardent community of developers, making it $0 free.  Yes, free, because it is open source.  When Ubuntu arrives to the school stage, so long are the days of learning the bare surface of computers; instead, people can really learn about the system and its purpose, to communicate with it through a terminal, to learn to use and contribute to free software.  Simply, the possibilities are endless.

Ubuntu for students is a fascinating idea, especially within a school in Los Angeles.  I want to see what students and readers think about this.  Please add to the discussion by commenting or asking questions about this. This project will be set in motion very, very soon.

UPDATE: I've improved the comment section by replacing it with the DISQUS widget. Now, I think it'll be easier to comment for people w/o blogger accounts. :)

UPDATE #2: I've started a post keeping track of progress with this project.

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