Software advice to schools

Some IT related bits and pieces today.

Thanks to an article on the Becta web site (see below) I discovered a link to OpenDisc, a site that collates links to (and distributes on CD) high quality open source software for Windows users (some apps are also available in OSX and Linux).

Becta, the UK education technology agency, published a report on Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 at the beginning of January looking at document interoperability and analysing the suitability of both software packages for adoption by schools and colleges. It’s main recommendations are:

  • avoid installing Vista for interoperability reasons, except where they are doing new institution wide installations.
  • there should be no widespread deployment of Office 2007 until schools and colleges are sure that they have in place mechanisms to deal with interoperability and potential digital divide issues over Microsoft’s new .docx (OOXML) format and that where there are users of Office 2007 they should not save in the .docx format. It also highlights Microsoft’s limited implementation of the ODF document standard.
  • pupils, parents and teachers should be made aware of ‘free to use’ products currently available and the ICT industry should do more to highlight these products.

Becta also has a complaint pending with the Office of Fair Trading over Microsoft’s educational licensing programme.

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