Category: Educational play

Running Edubuntu from a Live CD

logo.pngFor screenshots of Edubuntu check this out.

So, with  all this talk about Edubuntu, I realized that maybe I should explain how to go about downloading and running it.  In fact, there is a bit of a trick to it which I have messed up more than a few times because I am a ditz like that–enough so that I went ahead and made a few cd’s for people who want them instead of explaining to my less technically-minded friends how to go about it.  (I have wasted plenty of cd’s because I “forget” how to burn an image.)

Before you download and run it there are two things you need to do.  (It doesn’t take much space to run so most people will not have issues with that.)

  1. Reboot your computer.  When it is starting up there will be a splash screen that tells you what type of processor you have.  As long as it doesn’t say 64 somewhere in there you should be good with the regular install.  (You can also check this by going into your control panel, system, and looking at your computer info.   AMD 64 requires a different setup which is the second one listed.)  Most people have a regular 32bit chipset and can run the first version.  If you can’t tell I suggest downloading and running the first chipset (or if you aren’t sure, email me and I will be glad to make you a cd and send it to you or you can order one from their site.)
  2. You need a cd burning software that can burn a cd image.  You are not burning data or an audio file you need to burn an .iso which is a disk image.  Nero Burning Rom can do this as can Sonic.  More than likely the program that came with your cd burner can burn a disk image but you need to tell it that is what you want.  DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try to burn it as a data cd.  It won’t work.  I know because I ALWAYS forget and mess this up several times before remembering that I need to “Burn Disk Image”.

Now you can go the website and download.  You want the personal version, not the server.

Once you have downloaded and burned the cd all you do is put the cd in the cd/dvd player before rebooting.  Reboot and if your computer can boot from CD then it should automatically take you to the Edubuntu screen.  There it will give you several options but you likely won’t have to do a thing.  It will auto start in 30 seconds.  It will sit there a while–remember, you are running an entire OS from a cd, but it will start.  Just wait (probably about 3-5 minutes, on older machines like ours it takes a bit longer).  Once it boots you are good.  The screen looks quite a bit like a Mac (at least what I remember Macs looking like–it has been a while.)

Now you can play the games and run the programs without needing to install the software.  If you decide you love it you can install from there but I wouldn’t advise it unless you don’t mind losing what is already on computer or have everything backed up and I would recommend reading the docs on the site before doing so.  You can’t run Microsoft programs on an Ubuntu machine and have to convert your mp3s to .ogg format.  It is great if you don’t use Microsoft software and tend to use open source anyway or if you have a second computer for the kids (like us, we have 4 computers, two are old ones that belong to the kids.)

There are a few games that say they are missing bits.  If you install, it is easy to update those–they use other software that is normally already installed on a Linux machine.  If you don’t install you can’t update those but the rest is still well worth it.

I will talk a bit more about the games available in a future post.

A Day in the Life 19

My neck is out and my back aches. Sigh. We got a big snow and I shoveled even though my neck was twinging so my dad could get in the driveway. I only shoveled a little but it was too much and now. Sigh. I am off to spend several hours flat on my back playing Harvest Moon because I can’t sit up for long. Before I go I want to share a couple things:

This morning my “teaching himself to read” child called me over to the table where he sat eating animal crackers.

“Look Mom, this says low fat!”

“Did you read that yourself?”

“Yup.” He grinned and went on eating.

As I said he has been having me “read” a hymn book to him. He likes to help me read the words, which are divided into syllables so he can easily sound them out. He then helps me sing the songs. It is very sweet. (It had never occurred to me that all the old hymn books I collect from yard sales would make such great easy readers.)

My little boy has taught himself to read!

Also, all three kids are very into Edubuntu and are spending lots of time playing GCompris and and several other great educational games. The other cool thing about Edubuntu is that you can go to the Edubuntu site, download the isntaller and burn the image to a cd–which will allow you to run the whole thing off the cd without installing over your copy of Windows. We have two copies running though one of the machines still has Windows on it. It is amazing to see what they are learning from this wonderful program.

Edubuntu, too?

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.

A Day in Life 16: When Learning is a Choice plus Doodle-a-day 2-19-08

When something is a requirement it is hard for the rebellious nature not to rebel. When learning is a choice then the rebellious will choose it because they really do want to learn. And when a person really does want to learn something that person will find a way.

  • When we went to the library last week my son asked for Hooked on Phonics: level 1, my daughters asked if they could get books to read. I reluctantly agreed only because we pay quite a lot in library fines because they forget which they got out.
  • Before bed my son read a book with me because he wanted to learn to read it. He also asked if he could play the Hooked on Phonics game in the morning. I told him he had to get his work done first (Mondays he throws all their dirty laundry down the step, move it to the hall where he has to sort it, plus put away all the pots ad pans and plastic items from the dishwasher.)
  • He woke at 8:30 and before he got his breakfast he had done the dirty laundry, not only the upstairs but also all the dirty laundry from the bedroom and the bathroom and he did everyone’s dishes, not just his own. He then came and told me and asked if he could play his game. (He has played it before and knows the answers pretty well but he is a cautious child and wants to REALLY know things before moving on.)
  • He spent an hour playing the Hooked on Phonics game which moves you through reading all sorts of three letter words then asked to go outside after he ate breakfast.
  • He went off to visit our elderly neighbor, who loves having company and happily reads him books, plays restaurant with him, and watches as he builds amazing towers with her set of blocks.
  • He spent hours playing happily in his room with his magnetics, exploring the world of magnetism and time outside with one of his plastic swords fighting off the monstrous trees that have invaded our backyard in search of fair princesses who need rescued or pretending he is a tiny little man inside my father’s back hoe moving sand around our fire pit and covering and rediscovering matchbox cars.
  • He asked to play Number Rings with me (a math game put out by Discovery Toys that requires the players to add, subtract, multiply, and divide 3 dice in order to fill in all the numbers from 1-18.) He then proceeded to beat me with only a little help with multiplication from me.
  • At bedtime he read If You Give a Pig a Pancake with only little help from me.
  • The next morning he he asked if he could do his school work. He then proceeded to get out all his workbooks and do page after page of his phonics workbook–effectively teaching himself all the long a spellings and reading them on his own. This after spending some time outside and realizing it was too cold and putting away 20 items in his room so he could go outside in the first place.

This is the same child who, when told he HAS to do something gets very worked up and can’t possibly get anything out of it because he is too busy being upset. Each of my children are different and he is my methodical self-motivated child. This child would be in trouble constantly in school because he can NOT sit still and can NOT be quiet (he makes noise and moves around all through our church time and reading time although if he is engrossed in a project he can be still). When he works on workbook pages he talks constantly and then gets up and runs around the house jumping off the furniture and shouting cock-a-doodle doo (his latest noise discovery.)

Doodle-a-Day:2-18-08 plus some thoughts on unschooling

When I was a kid I was fascinated with the outdoors. I would spend all summer outside,carrying a backpack full of essentials including my favorite doll, a Tupperware cup full of homemade lemonade, colored pencils, book, and notebook. I am sure I had a first aide kit of sorts in there as well as some natural books and other things that seemed necessary to being out in the woods.Read More

Doodle-a-Day:2-12-08

Today I spent some time sketching as Issac moved about and built an impressive city out of the memory rocks we keep in a giant bowl by the fire place. He has all kinds of building toys but loves balancing rocks one on another and spent 45 minutes at it after playing out in the snow. Because he was moving about an building as boys do the sketch is more impression than any attempt to capture Issac as he is.