Since a couple of months I started to be interested in Gnu / Linux distributions for children for 2 reasons:
- My daughter: I have a 3-year-old girl who little by little is awakening interest in ICTs, Connectivity and above all technology (Many will say that I exaggerate, and possibly yes), I think it is the opportunity to start testing teaching theories / learning based on XNUMXst century education.
- My job: a couple of months ago almost a year I got a job as a computer teacher in a private school in my town where I gave my classes on Windows XP, 7. Any normal teacher would have followed, but like many users Gnu / Linux is very teaching proprietary software to children of this generation is uncomfortable, so I decided to go further.
With this precedent I began to be interested in the search for GNU / Linux Operating Systems that I could dedicate to this task. In my search I came across a lot of software available for education, but nothing convinced me. I started testing one by one and here are the results.
Distros for education
Qimo: Intended for children from 3 years of age onwards, surely you have family or small friends, you should start them in this world in a fun way, before they become part of any of the software monopolies that we know.
It is a derivative of Xubuntu with a special interface designed for the little ones in the house. One of its particular characteristics are the large icons to access the applications and programs with which they learn while playing.
With respect to its basic resources they are very low, you could reuse any old machine of those that we no longer use because it does not have the latest Winbug (a derogatory word to refer to the software giant) installed, useful so that ours do not bump us. Uses Live CD technology using 256 MB of RAM and then 192 MB. It works with processors starting at 400MHz and 6GB of storage space on the hard disk is enough.
One of its disadvantages is that its last system update was in 2012, based on the Xubuntu 10.10 distribution, maybe a little outdated, but still very powerful.
It is different from Edubuntu in its conception. The idea is to have an independent computer for children's use, instead of machines in a networked classroom. Quimo is designed to be very easy to use, avoiding the navigation of multiple open windows, currently it comes with kernel 2.6.32, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.3 and a set of minimal XFCE desktop tools. In the multimedia section it has Exaile and Totem. It does not have office applications or packages that an adult would use, although of course they can be installed.
The applications that are his strong suit are easy to use especially for children. It is a good adaptation to the children's world of something as serious as a GNU / Linux distribution, which as such is available in several languages, including Spanish. The design is very careful, with colors and motifs that will undoubtedly attract the attention of your target audience.
To the part for the elderly It is accessed from a discreet button located in the upper left area of the screen. This is not a problem because the logical thing is that the role of root It is assumed by an adult who creates the necessary accounts for each child.
Qimo has games and programs of varying difficulty, adapting to a varied age range. We will have to dedicate some time to the little ones until they understand how it works, a golden opportunity to enjoy with them. Then they will learn and discover with pain that they no longer need us at all.
Canaima: It is an open socio-technological project, built in a collaborative way, focused on the development of productive tools and models based on IT (Information Technology) free of software and operating systems whose objective is to generate national capacities, endogenous development, appropriation and promotion of free knowledge. It is the GNU / Linux distribution used in Venezuela for different educational projects of a public and private nature. For this distribution I will not write more than necessary.
This distribution is based on Debian if you want to take a virtual tour of this system I suggest you access here, that way you will experience what Canaima is about.
Huayra: It is the operating system of Connect equality It is based on Debian Gnu / Linux, it is safer, more agile and developed in Argentina taking into account the needs of both students and teachers and maintaining our national identity. Huayra takes its name from the Quechua word that means wind (wind of change, winds of freedom, winds of technological sovereignty). In addition to being a free operating system, Huayra has been designed and developed for the use of the educational community. Through it you can access a wide variety of educational programs and applications.
It has around 25000 free and free programs, uses the Mate desktop environment, has the GNU GPL license in most applications. It has its own and open repositories, its own documentation, its own windows theme.
Skolelinux / Debian Edu it is a complete operating system for schools. Thanks to its various installation profiles, you can install servers, workstations and laptops on your school network. With Debian Edu, teaching or technical staff can deploy a lab of many computers and users in a few days or even hours. Debian Edu comes with many pre-installed applications, with the ability to install more from the Debian repositories.
The Debian Edu developer team is pleased to announce the sixth release of Debian Edu / Skolelinux, called Debian Edu 7.1 + edu0
Wheezy and which is based on Debian 7 (aka
Wheezy), which has been carefully improved compared to the previous Squeeze release, while maintaining its unique features and ease of maintenance.
In short, there are many options to bring children closer to the use of ICT, Internet, Office automation, Design, etc. I believe that as a computer teacher of the XNUMXst century, the most important thing is to develop technological skills in elementary and high school students. The use of free software brings us closer to it, however I will be commenting on «Learn Free » a project that, apart from using free software, seeks to change the education paradigm in this digital age, ceasing to be consumerists and turning them into technology creators.
Skolelinux / Debian Edu