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Office Software Thread, office 2007 vs openoffice in Technical; Hi guys, i have been thinking of using openoffice instead of office 2007 as our next upgrade from office 2003, ...
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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    office 2007 vs openoffice

    Hi guys, i have been thinking of using openoffice instead of office 2007 as our next upgrade from office 2003,
    several reasons:
    1) openoffice is free!
    2) menus have radically changed in office 2007 that this will cause me no end of nightmares with not so IT savy tutors and students
    3) they can download and install openoffice at home
    4) and did i mention openoffice is free !

    I understand it will mean major headaches which ever version we upgrade to, and i am thinking of running openoffice with our current office 2003 this year just to get people used to it.

    so tell me is this just a hopeless pipedream and should i just give in to the microsoft giant
    or should i try to change the world 1 tutor at a time

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    The choice is simple. We are in the business of educating young people and giving them the skills they will need when leaving education.

    Fine, OpenOffice is free, and yes it is similar in look and operation to MS Office, but it is NOT MS Office.

    If you look at industry, and I'm talking about the companies in your town/city they will be using MS products and not free/open source products. I know some of the really large organisiations are/talking about using open source software, but how many of our students are they likely to employ.

    Like the rest of us, I hate adding to MS profits, but unless we give students the experience of MS products within our establishments, how are they going to compete when it comes looking for work?

    Sorry to go on, but it's not always about money.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    Give them both ... teach them the concepts and skills rather than applications.

    Give them the ability to choose the most appropriate software.

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    shefflad: We are supposed to be teaching transferable skills and concepts, not applications.

    Don't forget that Office 2007 uses MS's own 'Office Open XML' as the default format, not compatible with the more common Open Document Format.

    I think the issue of being free to install on home computers is a very important point also. Countless times students have come to us with MS Works documents that we just can't open or convert properly. Using a common format for all work at school and home will remove this recurring problem.

    More and more companies and government offices are reaping the benefits using open source software and formats such as Open Office. Why should schools be any different?

    Unfortunately, the likes of Capita still seem to rely on functionality provided by MS Office for certain things which seems unavoidable. We just had to roll out an upgrade to MS Office 2003 for SIMS, when there was nothing wrong with MS Office XP

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    Quote Originally Posted by webman
    shefflad: We are supposed to be teaching transferable skills and concepts, not applications.

    Don't forget that Office 2007 uses MS's own 'Office Open XML' as the default format, not compatible with the more common Open Document Format.
    All true to an extent. But if we are teaching transferable skills and most (if not all) of industry uses MS Office...surely helping students become proficient at using this application (which includes skills and concepts common to all word processing applications to be honest in the same way using OO would offer) is preparing them for the real working world they will live in when leaving and equally teaching transferable skills?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    Quote Originally Posted by kingswood
    All true to an extent. But if we are teaching transferable skills and most (if not all) of industry uses MS Office...surely helping students become proficient at using this application (which includes skills and concepts common to all word processing applications to be honest in the same way using OO would offer) is preparing them for the real working world they will live in when leaving and equally teaching transferable skills?
    No, that is not the point of our ICT curriculum - we aren't teaching applications (ever!) we are teaching the theories only. Yes industry uses MS Office, but what about those businesses that don't? What about teaching Desktop Publishing? Should we be teaching Publisher? or Quark Express? We cannot simply say 'industry uses this application' because it is not true. Some industries do use that software, but some don't - and teaching to a single package leaves the pupils with a steep learning curve if they join one of those industries.

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk
    Quote Originally Posted by kingswood
    All true to an extent. But if we are teaching transferable skills and most (if not all) of industry uses MS Office...surely helping students become proficient at using this application (which includes skills and concepts common to all word processing applications to be honest in the same way using OO would offer) is preparing them for the real working world they will live in when leaving and equally teaching transferable skills?
    No, that is not the point of our ICT curriculum - we aren't teaching applications (ever!) we are teaching the theories only. Yes industry uses MS Office, but what about those businesses that don't? What about teaching Desktop Publishing? Should we be teaching Publisher? or Quark Express? We cannot simply say 'industry uses this application' because it is not true. Some industries do use that software, but some don't - and teaching to a single package leaves the pupils with a steep learning curve if they join one of those industries.
    I'm sorry- but that may be the true goal of educational philosophy but it just does not happen. What we actually do is stick kids in front of MS Windows and MS Office and get them to work to goals that teach them how to use MS Office. There may be a few schools that really do teach *principles*, but the real truth is that education today is actually driven by industry and not by philosophical goals. Sorry. But it is a fact.

    I'm not saying it's right. But statements like "we teach principles" simply aren't working in the real world.


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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    Tell that to Ian Lynch ...

    It is possible to teach concepts ... but it is hard and involves a lot f careful planning and thinking. Sometimes the cost in time and effort is not worth it and so we take the next best approach.

    A shame ... but that is life.

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    I'm sorry, but the MS monopoly will not last forever. I think that is a point we can all agree on.

    That said, where does that leave school teaching strategies? Presumably schools hope that Microsoft wont curl up and die any time soon? Say for example, the next 20 years? Do I need to explain what a short sighted idea this is?

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    When I did ICT AS and A2 you do get taught you not to refer to brand names because you loose marks (apparently).

    Yes, it does seem a lot of the time that you are being sat infront of a MS box and being taught to use MS software, MS terms and MS techniques that arent always transferrable. At the end of the day, how many ICT teachers are actually versed in the ways of open source and even know the first thing about navigating around Gnome letalone the file system of a *nix box.

    I would however like to see a bit of a change in the curriculum that teachs some sort of linux skills. It would be refreshing to see a break from the constant plugging of MS products that /does/ seem to be rife in the UK curriculum.

    It would also help with the licensing issues within various establishments that we all have faced at some point or another with students wondering into the tech office and asked if they can get MS office or Visio or something from you because a teacher told them that they need it and that's where they could get it.

    Open Source is useful and can only be a way forward, but only if it's built into the education system a bit more. More publicity about linux possibly? It needs to be marketed like Mark Shuttleworth appears to be trying to do with Ubuntu.

    The main thing is that it's put across as user friendly and therefore dispelling the myth that it's command line and hard to get to grips with. Maybe order a load of CDs from shipit and offer it out to students that come to ICT Services for software / support and a little leaflet? It's a start to a revolution eh! lol

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    in the (less than successful) KS3ICT exam, the kids had to use a proprietry package of office applications, therefore, the teaching of concepts is more important than the teaching of packages.

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    It will be interesting too to see what happens when Dell begin offering Ubuntu on their consumer desktop/laptop ranges. How many people buy Dell machines because they are cheap? How many people will buy the Linux machine because it is £100 cheaper than the Windows one?

    Schools will be forced to follow the trend too and will have to use OpenOffice for compatibility with the kids' home machines.

    Anybody that still intends to use the KS3 ICT testing software could have difficulties too. The Office 2007 interface may be easy to use (assuming that you aren't a technophile teacher) but it IS different to that used by the testing software. OpenOffice is less different. OpenOffice is also less different to versions of MS Office up to Office 2003.

    However, the problem that I am going to have is the upgrade cost. It will have to be all or nothing because of the different interface. I have 250 clients and at £30 a pop that's a bill of £7500!

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    The teaching of concepts is fine, but when push comes to shove, who would you employ?

    Someone who has a knowledge of MS applications or someone who knows the concept of office based applications?

    I know who I would choose.

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    Experience of several office applications, such as Microsoft Office, Open Office and Star Office.

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    Re: office 2007 vs openoffice

    I would choose the one which can transfer their skills to the systems in place in my place of business. Just because someone knows how to use MS office doesn't mean they're as useful as someone who can transfer their skills in such packages to other brands of software. To hire someone based on their knowledge of MS Office is short sighted and foolish to say the least - what happens if the government suddenly decides to implement open source software in schools?

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