Friday, January 11, 2008

a teacher's viewpoint

Today i had the happy experience to teach (OpenOffice) in the very primary school where i was as a kid. The kids today had no problems with OpenOffice and we even started to make a video tutorial (not finished due to lack of time). Later i had the opportunity to talk with the schools computer teacher.

Curious, i asked about her opinion toward OpenOffice because i noted that OpenOffice was already installed on all computers in the computer room.

She told me that she would prefer M$-Office to be (additional) installed due to several reasons:

* Her knowledge and teaching material (books) is M$-Office only.

* The kids are often supervised by parents instead of teachers when in the computer room and the parents know only M$-Office and will not understand why the school can not afford M$-Office.

* The schools after the primary school (kids go here from 6 years old until 10 years old) will mostly not have OpenOffice installed but M$-Office instead. Same argument for possible workplaces after school.

* Some teachers like to print out documents in the school's Computer room. The documents are -of course- made with M$-Word from the teachers private computer and there were problems printing them out with OO.Writer.

While i have my own opinion on some of this points i must admit that all of them are valid arguments from the teachers perspective.

I will do my best to make OpenSource Software (like Open Office) more attractive for the school and it's teachers but i think in the end it does not count how much better OpenSource software is .. what count is the opinion of the people involved.
Sadly, changing someone's opinion is so much harder than changing a piece of code.