Office Software Thread, OOo4Kids - Open Office for 7-12 year olds in Technical; Hi Folks
I thought I'd mention this one here because it's only just gone v1.0 and I couldn't find anything ...
28th September 2010, 04:06 PM #1
OOo4Kids - Open Office for 7-12 year olds
I thought I'd mention this one here because it's only just gone v1.0 and I couldn't find anything about it on the foums when I was investigating it. The people at OpenOffice.org have released a version of OO with a cut down UI specially for the 7-12 age range, and taken steps with both teaching and technical staff to make it easily deployable and child friendly. Working in several primaries I've found Open Office to be okay with the Juniors but often a bit much for infants, so this simplified build is well received.
The suite includes versions of Calc, Draw, Impress, Math and Writer
and the project appears to be a well structured and considerably mature offering given it's young age. Have a look and decide for yourselves OOo4Kids
The installer unpacks an msi file which helps for AD GPO deployments, and the default installation drops such things like the user agreement and the registration splash familiar from the full OOo install which helps make it easier for us admins.
I've had a brief look at it over the weekend and I'm satisfied with it's stability and features. I just wish there was an EN localisation, but I guess we can't have everything for free... I'm going to deploy it live to 32 fizzbooks this afternoon. The school did the usual trick of spending all their money with a local boxshifter without consultation from the experts (ie., me) and then acted all surprised when they found out Microsoft charge for Office licenses... sound familiar?
I'll return with any problems etc if and when they occur.
Cheers folks, and respect to the people at ooo4kids.org :-)
9 Thanks to Joe_Pineapples:
box_l (28th September 2010), elsiegee40 (29th September 2010), GrumbleDook (28th September 2010), jinnantonnix (29th September 2010), SimpleSi (28th September 2010), superfletch (28th September 2010), teachingtim (26th November 2011), torledo (29th September 2010), ZeroHour (29th September 2010)
28th September 2010, 04:15 PM #2
I have been looking at this, but not got round to deploying yet. It will be interesting to hear how you get on with this.
28th September 2010, 09:20 PM #3
Good to see it is out. I'll pass this onto a few primary teachers in the area and see where it fits in with the local SoW.
28th September 2010, 09:38 PM #4
This has cheered me up.
and taken steps with both teaching and technical staff to make it easily deployable and child friendly.
I'll return with any problems etc if and when they occur.
28th September 2010, 10:06 PM #5
Just been told Green Park School Year Four Blog have been using it for a bit and love it.
28th September 2010, 11:04 PM #6
manglement - edugeek translation please
28th September 2010, 11:10 PM #7
Schemes of Work I'd guess.
28th September 2010, 11:18 PM #8
Not manglement ... EduLish ... for Scheme of Work. If you are going to look at this in schools (especially primary) then ask the teachers if it fits in with their scheme of work.
28th September 2010, 11:19 PM #9
Just tried out the portable version - gave sligh error when I tried to save an impress file
(and then carried on - but maybe not a V1 after all )
28th September 2010, 11:28 PM #10
29th September 2010, 12:22 AM #11
Maybe. Sprogette's new Y3 class have been doing things with MS Word in a CCx school that decided against using RM's TFW, so it's the same one I use just with all the extraneous stuff locked out. No doubt some could use it earlier, but do they really need to learn do this in KS1 where they're a bit pre-occupied with teaching them to a) stop fidgeting, b) read and write the old-fashioned way?
And on serious note if it makes its easier to use "proper" word processing/presentations at an earlier age then it will be a winner
You don't have to replace the MSO they already have (everywhere here at least and typically 2003), perhaps just put it on the start menu as an alternative and see what happens. But in that scenario I would want it defaulting, maybe even restricted to MSO file formats so, as ever, how do you centrally configure it in a domain?
if school is already OpenOffice - would still have the MS factor to overcome in the others
Last edited by PiqueABoo; 29th September 2010 at 12:24 AM.
29th September 2010, 01:09 PM #12
Well it's deployed to my Fizzbooks (v1's) over my 54g wireless pretty quickly, without any transforms or other tweakery; I didn't have the time to test more than the most basic installation because this school wants it done yesterday.
The software works fine without errors for both limited and admin users and installed cleanly. As mentioned previously, there's no splash screen or registration wizard by default, and this version of OOo works without the Java Runtime environment too which is nice.
There are mst files available for the standard version of OOo which set microsoft office file format associations to OOo, and I'm going to have a look at porting that mst file over to OOo4kids over the next few days.
To summarise, this stuff is basically OOo with larger icons and less by default as SimpleSi said earlier. This in itself is a useful thing as until the classic MSO layout was "improved" to the ribbon it was always a similar, but more useable interface than OOo's.
The other main advantage is the ease of deployment - it just works out of the box in a hassle free configuration and deploys quickly without error if you need it to work fast as I did. More like this please people.
Given the depth of material on the OOo4kids page, and the commitment to learning specific values they obviously have, I imagine that we'll see more value added in this prject for our schools over the next few increments.
@Jinnantonix: I'm not sure, and haven't had much time to look so I could be wrong but I think those are localisations for the standard OOo package only.
@PiqueaABoo: Apologies if I'm telling you what you already know... You can customise the .msi file by applying .mst "transforms" then deploy through Active Directory Group Policy for automatic installation. Alternatively you can script the install through startup scripts. These "transforms" change default settings in the msi file and alter the properties of the installation. Also possible is registry changes made after installation centrally managed through custom Administrative Templates (.adm files) also applied through group policy - these allow after - install changes and can target any registry setting you care to add to them. These are a standard feature of AD / Group Policy and not specific to OOo though. I'm going to have alook at making some of these if I need them, If I do I'll put them up on here.
I'll keep you all posted with any developments but I'm in other places for the rest of the week now. Cheers :-)
29th September 2010, 01:16 PM #13
as its designed for 7-12 year olds i might deploy here for the teachers to use!!
29th September 2010, 03:59 PM #14
Just a bit, but explaining is good because someone else may not know.
Apologies if I'm telling you what you already know.
To zoom in it looks to me like most (all?) of the config is in user Application Data folder XCU files which makes it a teensy bit of a pain i.e. want to change something and you've got to get updates into there. The only ADM mentions I can find googling are from "Open Office Technology" who appear to sell some kind of client that run on workstations at some point and presumably reads ADM settings and turns them into config file modifications for you (free for personal, otherwise not free). I suppose it's not the end of the world. I guess you can set some the initial config pre-installation with MSTs and thereafter can update it with a logon script or have user GPP copy over updated files, but when there is a well-known long standing standard native mechanism (registry/GPOs) having to deal with special cases is irksome.
I've only glanced so far but can't obviously see any piles of graphic resource's (Sprogette at least is very keen on dropping pictures of pink dolphins or whatever into their efforts). Am I missing something? If not is there somewhere you can go to get this kind of stuff?
29th September 2010, 06:54 PM #15
- Rep Power
First, thanks for your kind words
In fact, we do the changes following teachers recommandations.
Some features you could test :
- the cursive font "Ecolier", and "Ecolier court" shipped with OOo4Kids
- the annotation mode with Impress : you can write, change the Pen color, its size, select the Eraser, its size in presentation mode (we'll improve this feature early 2011)
- did you test the user level ?
Create an empty Writer document, Open the preferences ( Tools -> Options ) and change the user level -> the toolbars are modified instantaneously
- the prefs can be protected (prof is the default password), to avoid children doing mistakes
- the Wizard in Calc, proposes functions depending on the user level.
And so on (currently working on the new Writer Wizard -see our wiki)
Don't forget there is a portable version, and since a little while, an "adult" version named OOoLight ( see educoo dot us site).
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