Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Using Ubuntu live CD in class

I noticed that two of the trade show stands at the annual CEGSA conference had Ubuntu Linux CD’s that they were giving away. The two stands were ACS and ???

There are two CD’s in the pack, one of which is a live CD. A live CD enables you to boot Ubuntu Linux from the CD and not touch the operating system that you have installed on your hard drive. It is a great no risk, low cost way to expose students to another operating system.

Ubuntu Linux has had a very rapid assent to being rated the top or amongst the very top Linux distributions. It is extremely simple to install, especially if you have the computer pre connected to a broadband internet connection at the time of installation. It installs a number of useful applications like Open Office, web browsing, email, a few games, as part of the standard install which means that the computer will do what most people need a computer to do out of the box. The live CD also gives access to these applications.

Given that it is a very recent version it would be best to run this live CD on a computer that is running Windows XP nicely (>= 256MB RAM). It will be a bit sluggish as it is operating from the CD rather than a nice fast hard drive.

Copies of these CD’s can be sourced free from https://shipit.ubuntu.com/ or they can downloaded from http://www.ubuntu.com/download .

The Ubuntu Linux project also has Kubuntu. The main difference between Ubuntu and Kubuntu is the windows manager or the user interface. Ubuntu uses the Gnome windows manager and Kubuntu uses KDE. Kubuntu CD’s can also be sourced free from https://shipit.kubuntu.org/ . This is worth doing as it demonstrates that there can be differences to the user interface for operating systems that essentially have the same ‘engine’.

It is also possible to download Xubuntu at http://www.xubuntu.org/ There are no free CD’s for this one as far as I know. Xubuntu is designed to optimise the operating system for machines of lower specifications, usually older computers (<128MB RAM). I don't think that this is a live CD so to experince it, students will need to install it on the computer. Again, the main difference lies with the user interface.

Finally there is Edubuntu which is designed for educational environments. http://www.edubuntu.org/ I think that you can get free CD’s for this as well.

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