So, we downloaded and made a Live CD of Ubuntu. We got it running on the kids’ computer which is awesome because we could test it before installing it. For those who don’t know a Live CD is one where you can run your system off the cd instead of installing the OS over your old OS.
This is good when you want to test several flavors or are not sure it will work with your hardware. The kids were thrilled with it and were ready for me to go ahead and install it. However, I had also found Edubuntu which is Ubuntu designed to be used in educational classrooms and specifically with kids in mind. It has all sorts of neat kids programs and educational stuff already installed. So I made them wait while I downloaded and made a Live CD of Edubuntu so they could try that out as well.
As much as they loved Ubuntu plain vanilla they loved the marble chocolate swirl of Edubuntu.
Already they have tried out KDETurtle (a take off of the old Logo program my mom used to use to teach her computer class in Catholic school–Turtle and LOGO are a very basic program where you write a mini program and see it work right on the screen.) My husband the programmer is THRILLED!!!!! Esther spent half an hour trying out the little programs and changing colors and whatnot. They have also spent some time working with Gimp, an old favorite of mine–if you need a high quality photo editing/drawing program and have no money The Gimp is for you.
Edubuntu has plenty of other wonderful educational programs bundled with it that the kids are exploring. GCompris , another old favorite is pre-installed which is pretty fun since Rachel vaguely remembers playing it. It also has Hangman and other games designed for older kids including several math programs and a typing tutor. It comes with the whole slew of KDE Games and Gnome games including a ton of basic computer games similar to Tetris, connect 4, etc.
The most exciting thing to me is that it automatically found our internet connection and network. I suspect once I install I will have to fuss with it but the Live CD is working out great. The kids are begging me to do a full install but I want them to mess with it first and see what they can and cannot do.
So far Edubuntu is a winner.