LibreOffice is one of the major pieces in many, if not all, Linux distributions. LibreOffice has an installer for Windows and Macintosh. LibreOffice is Free and free. It is very popular throughout Europe. In spite of all that, it is not well known in the United States.

Do you use LibreOffice yourself? Would you like to be involved in promoting LibreOffice in any way? There’s a group forming to do just that. It is now meeting regularly online. If you would like to participate, let me know. I’ll contact you with the details.

One thing the group has set up is a “hackfest” IN BOSTON! planned for the weekend of July 26-27. At the hackfest, participants will share ideas, work on practical tasks, learn how to effectively do bug reporting, hear directly from developers. Save the dates.https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Events/2014/US_Summer_Hackfest

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“End of Life” seems a bit extreme. “End of Support” is the more accurate phrase. Microsoft has declared April 6 of 2014 as the date.

Is your district still using XP?

Is money the upgrade issue?

Have you considered a GNU/Linux alternative?

For that, is the difficulty of finding support staff an issue?

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When Eyeglasses Aren’t Enough

Jonathan Nadeau is blind. He is a computer user in spite of that. Many blind people around the world are unable to benefit from computers. Jonathan wants to do something about it.

I’ll just quote the email I got

.
“Hello,

Providing free access to the vision impaired people of the world, Accessible Computing foundations is raising funds to improve the Orca software; the worlds first free screen reader and operating system for the vision impaired. Through Accessible Computing Foundation’s Indiegogo campaign, you will provide computer access once and for all to the vision impaired citizens of the world.

The accessible Computing Foundation is a non profit developing Free assistive technology for people with all types of disabilities. there
are companies that develop assistive technology but the software is priced extremely high so only a small percentage of people that need this software to access a computer can have access to this software. This means that the rest of the people can’t have access to a computer
just because they can’t afford the software. The ACF wants to put an end to this and feels that everyone should be able to access a computer no matter what the physical hurddle might be to use a computer. This indiegogo campaign is the start of bringing access to all people with
types of disabilities. Lets bridge the gap between accessibility and technology!

http://accessiblecomputingfoundation.org/ (link updated)

http://www.igg.me/at/orca

Thank you to all who have made any kind of contribution, so matter how small, to the success of GNU/Linux.

This article says it very well.
http://fossforce.com/2013/12/linux-la-casa-nostra/

It is OUR Cause.

“H” is for happiness!

The “Hour of Code” is an initiative to get all sorts of kids and adults to devote an hour during the 2013 Computer Science Education Week (CSEd), promoted by the Computer Science Teachers’ Association (CSTA), especially to draw attention to getting the activity to happen in the daily routine of school work. Lots of different groups have signed up to participate. There are hundreds of challenge activities which have been designed for every age group and for all sorts of contexts, in school and outside of the school setting.

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This example is based on the Khan Academy activity at https://www.khanacademy.org/hour-of-code/hour-of-code-tutorial/p/challenge-h-for-hopper.

This was my first use of the Kahn Academy site. The Kahn Academy activity was well done, with lots of popup support from an animated character named Hopper which is similar to the infamous “Clipper” help system of Windows. Hopper worked, especially in this context. The site does NOT require login or an account to use the coding tool. There is nothing to download. You are free to play.

Are you planning to participate?

Screencapture of my Kahn challenge. Yes, I know that the expected result is just the basic large “H” outlines, but what’s the point of stopping when the urge to extend washes over? If you choose to complete the activity for the badge, you will want to set up an account and go through the steps without doing extensions. You are not limited to the planned activity, but the system is set up to get a particular result in order for you to earn official recognition.

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Good resources all around us.

http://opensource.com/education/13/11/open-source-materials-children-teens

Is the shift from textbooks to Open Educational Resources anything more than a shift from one publisher to another?

Are schools simply shifting students from one resource to another?

I read articles like this one at Edutopia about how schools are substituting OER for textbooks.  Great, but really?

Are educators and their students really shifting the perspective from consuming information created by others?

Where are the schools which are asking students and their teachers to actually produce OER components, building upon and expanding and personalizing the knowledge?

Is yours such a school?
Are you such a teacher?
Let us know about it.

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