I would try to add more facts of the suite that may
interest the group. For example
* templating and on-line templates for the different modules
* very strong form creating tool
* pdf tools and a pdf/odf hybrid file format
* very strong language support
* strong user support through forum/mailist/nntp
There should be enough to entice the group into backing the LibO
product. I am sure there are more but I just can't think of them right now.
We should have a worksheet listing all of the different modules
attributes and then, if a project needed a customized list, it could be
made up of the main list. Is there such a list somewhere? I imagine that
there would be.
How to approach education
Here would be some possible approaches I would take, just based upon
my experiences in education.
1. Try to find out if there are any teachers within the school
district who are either a) already using open source software in the
classroom or b) have an interest in open source software such as
LibreOffice. If you are a parent yourself within the school district,
asking your child's teachers for names of those who teach computer
studies and then contacting them would be a good place to start.
2. If you find a teachers who is interesting in giving LibreOffice a
try, first let them do so on their workstation. Let them be convinced
that LibreOffice is a great tool for educating their students.
3. Let the teacher ask the IT staff (perhaps with your assistance if
they desire) if they would be willing to install LibreOffice on a
select number of workstations, to evaluate its potential. Giving
more rational explanations for the desire to evaluate LibreOffice
could help put IT staff in a less defensive posture and may warm up to
the idea, depending on the person. Reasons you could give include the
software's generous licensing terms, the ability for low-income
students to have a copy of the software for their not-so-modern
computer at home to improve their studies, the possibility to squeeze
a few more years of life out of the school's aging workstations, etc.
Be sure to emphasize you wish to evaluate it, not immediately trying
to make a district-wide move to the software in the immediate future.
The adoption of open source software, in my observations, has worked
best when there is a genuine, organic interest from the teachers,
administrators, students and/or IT staff. Schools often have a number
of mandates they have to comply with. Figuring out a way to explain
how open source software can help in meeting those mandates, and do it
better than proprietary software, can go a long way toward helping in
its adoption. It won't be something that happens immediately. Then
again, like a lot of things in life, taking a slow, steady approach
and building a solid foundation (ie people truly interested and
convinced of open source software's potential in education) I think
will win out in the end.
Educator and Author