Monday, October 3, 2011

Puppies and Gnomes and eternal Truth for Africa

Mom looked over my shoulder at my screen the other day and read aloud,

~~~When Ubuntu leaves Gnome these may change. However, Puppy may use these. We need to double check that when we have Internet access.

Her tone was something like, "Are these real words?" And yeah, it's pretty unconventional terminology.

That note is about what I'm working on now, which is switching the software our Computer Training Outreach (CTO) is based on. Windows is expensive, and of course we're not going to teach our schools to pirate it, so we based the CTO on Ubuntu, which is a quality free operating system that comes from South Africa. Since joining TEN3, I've come to use Ubuntu for about 70% of my computer work, even personal work.

However, in consulting our partner schools in Nigeria in August, we discovered to get enough computers, they are having to buy them old--so even though Ubuntu is "lighter" than Windows, they still can't run it well. So we've seen a need to switch to Puppy Linux, which is specifically designed to run on older machines.
Cute, isn't he? Our model is for the schools to have many older computers with Puppy Linux, from which they will teach things like typing, file browsing, and introductions to word processing, spreadsheets and drawing.
The schools will also have a few newer computers with Ubuntu and Windows on them. The students will first learn to apply what they learned in Puppy to these systems.
This is extremely strong pedagogy, because it doesn't just teach students what buttons to press to get an effect--that kind of thing changes all the time in computers. Instead, students learn how to learn, how to be comfortable with any new system or program they have to use.

This is a lot of work for Anthony and me, but if you could decipher anything from that red paragraph, it indicates that we would have had to overhaul things for Ubuntu anyway. Computers are always changing! That's a strong theme in our material, that computers, and many things in the world, are always changing, but the truth is always the same. God's Word is the only definitive source of knowledge, the only thing you can securely build your life upon.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, it's amusing sometimes to watch people try to make sense of segments like that; of course even I get dumbfounded sometimes. An amen to that last bit though