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Educational Software Thread, Any Free/open Database software suitable for KS1 (8 yr olds)? in Technical; I'm new to this forum - am a programmer-turned-manager working in ICT in UK HE/FE, with a free/open source background. ...
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    Red face Any Free/open Database software suitable for KS1 (8 yr olds)?

    I'm new to this forum - am a programmer-turned-manager working in ICT in UK HE/FE, with a free/open source background.

    My mum is starting a new job teaching KS1 and she's been asked to cover ICT. She's not as technically illiterate as she likes to make out - is fine with email and the web and all the MS Office stuff.

    But the curriculum she has to cover next term is about databases - an introduction to the basic concepts, how and why databases work. Well, I can sit her down and clue her up about the basics.
    But to get things working in the classroom she needs a software package that's suitable for 8 year olds.

    I've seen 2simple's 2investigate package online - Mum used some of the 2simple suite at a previous school, and likes it. But her school is tight for cash and is not likely to cough up for license fees for it, or for MS Access either.

    What are the alternatives for a database package that's suitable for an "average" 8 year old?
    I know there are visual interfaces like phpmyadmin, pgadmin to Postgres and MySQL - but they are all a bit too "close to the metal", good if you understand the basics of how databases work already, but not as a teaching aid for the fundamentals...

    There's also online platforms like freebase or Google Spreadsheets, but the QCA teaching material I have seen really demands a SQL-capable database, not just a spreadsheet (Is it unrealistic of me to expect 8yr olds to learn SQL? I don't think so...) and they have unfriendly interfaces.

    I've looked round free and open source educational resources sites a bit, but they mostly seem to focus on the basics - operating systems, word processing, or little maths and language learning toys
    - I haven't seen *anything* much directed at the age group between early years and secondary school.

    Every child in the UK is doing this database bit of the national curriculum, right? How do others cope?
    My choices now are persuading her to let the kids emulate a database with pieces of coloured paper (which would be fun, and worth doing anyway) or trying to write a friendly, funky front-end to MySQL or Firebird myself (which might also be fun, or worth doing anyway).

    Any related experiences would be gladly listened to.

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    teejay's Avatar
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    If Access is suitable at that age range then you could try Open Office which has Base with it.

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    Thanks, I'll try Mum on it and see how it works out

    Teejay, thanks for this - I had never noticed the Base part of OpenOffice before.

    A test drive seems a bit fiddly, but it will help me to get the concepts across to my Mum, then she can make the judgement call on whether her 8-yr-olds can handle the interface...

    Still think they would be better off acting out sorting algorithms with pieces of paper

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    Michael's Avatar
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    The only other database type software I've used/installed is Junior ViewPoint. I didn't think databases were something they taught at KS1?

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    Databases at KS1

    Michael, thanks. I looked at the website for Junior ViewPoint this morning - it costs even more than 2investigate does, and I am really looking for something free and open source if possible.

    Here's the Year 3 / KS1 material on "Introduction to Databases" that Mum gave me a print-out of:
    The Standards Site: Introduction to databases (very slow to load)

    BTW the school is an international one outside the UK that follows the national curriculum - I don't know if that makes any difference - this is all a new world to me and I am a bit shocked by it!

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    Michael's Avatar
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    It's a shame the school don't have any funding, but both are pretty good at illustrating the purpose or need for databases. I suppose old fashioned teaching may be the way forward until money arrives

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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    If her school has the Sherston Megadeal then there will almost certainly be a package in that suitable for KS1 database work. I'm away from my work at the present but will have a gander next week - unless someone else has found it before hand.

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    Not really quite what you're after, but as online datasets go that can be searched/filtered in a fairly friendly way Socrata | Making Data Social isn't bad.

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    Looking outside the tabular box a bit

    Thanks @chillbear, that's interesting, a bit more like freebase, dbpedia etc. But very US-focused and perhaps a bit forbidding to kids.

    I would also wonder about data protection type concerns in using public services, as I would imagine kids will want to create data models that are meaningful to them, contain information about their lives.
    Another problem in using something like Socrata, or Google Spreadsheets etc, is that everyone needs to sign up, kids won't have in-school email addresses or be able to access their out-of-school ones in the classroom.

    I also saw this yesterday, knowledge-mapping software developed at the Open University - read some blog entries from parents who had been using it to structure arguments with their own kids, to persuade them why they could not get another cat!
    The Open University : KMi : Compendium : Screencasts

    That has a lot more appeal to me than "let's arrange data in a table, sort it in different orders, and press a button to draw a bar chart" - which might as well be a paper exercise, or a few lines of Logo. Mind mapping, linked data, social graphs, etc - the information processing world seems to have moved on a bit since the national curriculum for IT was last updated in 2000

    @michael - Mum wants to find something free for economic reasons - but I would like to find something free for ideological reasons.

    I am amazed at the responsiveness and helpfulness of this forum - I will have to find an excuse to stick around - hoping to make it down to BETT for a day, just to indulge my growing curiosity about the world of software for schools.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, I've never got anywhere in trying to find a simple free database package for KS2 pupils

    I've tried using OpenOffice Base but its too hard to try to use it to teach pupils.

    I've ended up just using Calc and using the simple sort/filter functions to introduce the basic concepts to Year5 pupils.

    I did look at the Greenwich site in the summer as I think it has some useful resources/databases that can be searched on
    Learning Module Page:

    regards

    Simon

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    TRy Textease - they offer a 30 day free trial. Not ideal, but better than nothing.



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