A Case Study: Wilmslow High School
How we got involved
We found out about the OOoEdu project from postings by Ian Lynch in the uk.education newsgroups. On contacting Ian we were given the name of a contact (Colin Charles) at the Malaysia end to liaise with.
A small group of year 11 students on a vocational ICT course were challenged to create and distribute 50 OpenOffice.org 1.1 CDs for use by schools and students in countries where the cost of commercial software and limited Internet access would be a barrier to IT access.
Initially one group of students downloaded the OpenOffice.org ISO from a mirror site.
The ISO didn't include JRE – Ian pointed out in the mailing lists that this might be a handicap for students with no Internet access as some parts of OpenOffice.org need it. Students downloaded JRE from the Sun website but had problems adding this to a folder on the original ISO. Their solution was to extract the ISO, add a java folder with JRE from Sun and recreate their own ISO. They then successfully tested this on Windows and Linux machines before using it as a template for burning CDs
Another group of students have been engaged in creating customised CD labels and wallets using the resources from the OpenOffice.org website.
What we're getting out of it?
From a teacher's point of view the OOoEdu project is ideal! Our students get to learn about more than just IT! They're learning about citizenship, co-operation and working to tight deadlines. Because we've tried to make our project self-financing they're also learning about the economics of production.
The students have responded well to the project (even bringing in resources from home) and are enjoying the responsibility they've been given. Knowing that they're making a meaningful contribution to an international project is a great motivator!
Where we're at
Burned the first 20 CDs today – despite a five hour power-cut! We hope to complete the other 30 early next week and, after testing each CD individually, ship the lot at the end of the week! For the future we've got plans to sell OpenOffice.org CDs to parents and students at our school to subsidise the cost of creating more CDs for Malaysia. One of the students has suggested we try to get individuals and local organisations to sponsor individual disks and this is something we'll definitely be considering – Chris is already working on a draft letter to Bill Gates!
Our other plans include one to produce a distribution kit consisting of the latest ISO, logos/graphics, instructions about how to create an OpenOffice.org CD and a contact for distribution (Ian Lynch) – available by 01/11/03. This will be free to any school in the UK that wants to participate in OOoEdu. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.