Video training tool for linux.. at last!
Though xvidcap is still in a beta mode, it is a great start towards enabling teachers and trainers to capture video screen captures of linux desktop environments.
I'm really enjoying xvidcap and, though xvidcap is not a polished app., it is useful and well worth the few minutes it will take you to sort out its ways and wherefores. Create movies of your linux desktop and share the wealth of OpenSource with your friends, family, clients, employers, employees!
K12ltsp, LMS, Grading and Time
Hat's off to Doug Loss and his great efforts in bringing LInux to the attention of educators. I had the pleasure of meeting him in person at the NECC conference in Seattle (http://www.k12ltsp.org/necc/) in July.
I've got a small linux network running in my English class.
K12LTSP (http://www.k12ltsp.org/). It's great and easy to get going. I would recommend all who are interested in linux and education to take a look at the K12LTSP site and the great package being developed there. I would also caution those interested in Linux in the classroom be conscious of the investment, both politically, financially and emotionally, that a school district has made in their MS products. It can be tricky so, tread lightly. Be aware as well, funding issues come up... Microsoft has a vested interest in seeing more schools and users so districts are unwilling to upset potential deep pocket donors like MS.
I actually found this review while looking for a Linux app that can handle my grade reporting. :) I'll need to check out the links provided but I must say, there are a lot of grade book apps out there for M$ but few meet my needs as a very busy and relatively savvy computer user.
Regarding Learning Management Systems as a whole, there are a few emerging that look very interesting. Moodle comes up immediately but I need to investigate further. There are apps that follow the SCORM and IMS specification but, again they need to be reviewed and tested which takes time, something teachers rarely have.
I'm currently using a very popular and somewhat powerful Content Management System called Tiki (http://tikiwiki.org/tiki-view_articles.php).
I use it to manage my classroom's documents (http://www.dennisgdaniels.com/tiki-index.php) because of the ease of use of the great Wiki system built into Tiki (http://tikiwiki.org/tiki-view_articles.php). However, Tiki was not designed specifically for a classroom and so doesn't meet some of my basic requirements like:
*assignment tracking and reporting
*security around ownership of documents on the site
*robust testing development and delivery
But, that said, Tiki could be a very good choice for school sites where teachers could edit and share documents very easily. With the No Child Left Behind Act (http://www.nclb.gov/), teachers are scrambling to match curricula to standards and that is a daunting task without the help of very powerful content management systems.
My students can and do access the web and my site via thin clients running k12ltsp and they've had no problems with the interface. The real hiccup with integrating Linux in the classroom is finding skilled personnel to help with the installation and administration of Linux networks and clients. And, as well, the teacher finding time to learn the basics of a new very powerful operating system. (I'm something of a new admin, though I've been using Linux on my personal home machine for a couple of years now.)
Linux does have a future in the classroom, it's really a matter of finding and cultivating developers who are interested in addressing the problems that teachers face in the classroom with tools that work.