[kde-edu]: plasma edu

Thomas Thym ungethym at mevin.net
Thu Jul 15 22:18:13 CEST 2010


I am pleased to see the activity in KDE EDU. It seems that there were a couple of discussions and BoFs during Akademy but I am not sure if the KDE-EDU people were enough involved. (Just my impression after some discussions with KDE-EDU people.)

Still motivated from Akademy I interviewed my sister (a teacher for 1st till 4th grade in Germany) about the use of computers in their classes. A short summary:

1. IT-environment.
They need a cheep, easy to deploy and maintain IT-infrastructure as a basic environment for their 1-5 computers in the classrooms to offer their students access to the Internet and computers.

2. A platform to collaborate.
(I don't like the idea, but at the moment) They use IT to control the students. There are some (commercial, closed sourced) webbased services that offer some tasks for the students and the teachers get informed about the activity of their class. Some services include the option to compete against others (in your class). The possibility of real collaboration (beyond classroom boundaries or creating something or learning together) is not practiced at her school. 

3. Training software.
They use some individual training software (like math- and vocabulary trainer) to offer the possibility to practice alone. To have those applications on mobil phones would be nice, esp. when they have gaming elements. At the moment they only use (buy) software that is approved by the education department and delivers exactly the content that is defined by the education department.

4. Non-IT rulez
IT is only a small element in education. The main part is done "offline".

(5. They don't care about the OS as long as it's Windows. Yes, there are still many prejudices  and MS is visiting the teachers regularly with special offers of Windows and Office (less than 50 EUR) for them.)

I planned to do some interviews here in Switzerland, too, if you think this information helps us further. 


On Wednesday 14 July 2010 21:52:07 wrote Aaron J. Seigo:
> hi everyone :)
> at Akademy we had a very good meeting of people involved with various school 
> deployments of the KDE Desktop v3 and/or KDE Plasma Desktop. we decided to try 
> and do two things:
> a) bring some of the unique efforts that are currently going on downstream in 
> these projects upstream, allowing them to use the KDE community's resources as 
> a point of collaboration for them. this will hopefully allow our large (and 
> small!) edu deployments to share their efforts as well as get their work into 
> more downstream-agnostic forms (allowing them to more easily shift OS if 
> needed)
> b) provide a unique Plasma Workspace offering that educational deployments may 
> choose to take advantage of. this means upstream work on the Plasma Desktop 
> that has a specific aim for the educational desktop needs, bringing us closer 
> to our downstreams and giving our downstreams new tools they can't get 
> elsewhere.
> at the meeting we decided on a few things:
> * the best place to run this project is from the KDE Edu community. 
> this is why i am sending this email to kde-edu@ and not plasma-devel at . it's 
> more relevant for educational deployments (plasma-devel is fairly high 
> traffic, techical and not overly useful for edu focused work :), and hopefully 
> will bring all of our edu resources closer together. we hope that by providing 
> a good edu experience on top of Plasma Desktop and Plasma Netbook, we can also 
> find new opportunities for KDE Edu software (and vice versa)
> * we need to write documentation of what we want to achieve and where we are 
> right now, this will go here for now:
> 	 http://techbase.kde.org/Projects/Plasma/Classroom
> we did this with netbook (http://techbase.kde.org/Projects/Plasma/Plasma-
> Netbook) and it was a very successful approach, even as our initial design 
> evolved over time.
> * we want to keep our sources together, but not bound to the KDE SC release 
> cycle for now. therefore, we are proposing to put our code into 
> trunk/extragear/edu/. no such directory currently exists. we will make it.
> * in addition to gather work down for existing edu deployments, we intend to 
> deliver a set of components (plasmoids, containments, javascript layout 
> templates) that will run inside a standard Plasma Desktop shell. we want to 
> have a first release around the same time as SC 4.6. the central idea is to 
> have a set of simplified, lockable panel layouts paired with a desktop widget 
> layout that can be customized by the teacher that leverages the Activities as 
> debuting in Plasma Desktop 4.5. each class session will get an Actvity, which 
> the classroom lead (e.g. teacher) can populate with applications, files, etc. 
> when a student logs in, it will fetch the Activities for the class sessions 
> they are in.
> * we require input from teachers using KDE software to provide feedback and 
> consultation on the above idea and as it progresses as a software product
> current action items:
> * get the Plasmoid from the Portugal deployment in svn
> * get the javascript layout that mimics the java bar used in Brazil in svn
> * flesh out the design document so we can begin getting teacher feedback and 
> start working on it
> ok, that's probably enough for one email. :)
> i hope that the KDE Edu team is ok with us joining/invading your space to run 
> this project. your input is not only welcome, it is desired. i'd say it's even 
> critical to this becoming a success. open the floodgates! :)

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