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Education Software News

Pedagogical Bundle Lets You Pay What You Want For Educational Software 57

First time accepted submitter rycks writes "Following on the success of the various Humble Bundles for DRM-free video games and eBooks, there is now a pedagogical offer. It includes Mulot for mouse training, Fubuki the brain breaker with mathematical problems, Mental Calculation to learn and train with mathematical tables, Raconte-moi to share voice over pictures stories, and a package with drawings to paint on. The software is GPL'd, without DRM :) As with the Humble Bundles, you can choose how much you'd like to pay, and how the proceeds are split between any of the authors and others."
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Pedagogical Bundle Lets You Pay What You Want For Educational Software

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    slashvertise much?

  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @05:49AM (#41655759) Homepage

    And like all "educational" bundles, the actual educational value is near zero.

    Colouring books, "mouse training" (because my 4-year-old has such trouble using a mouse, and it's not like she picked it up in seconds after being told to keep it on the desk), and then jump to mental arithmetic and sudoku-like games.

    There are a million colouring book apps. There aren't a million mouse training apps because they will pick it up faster than you'll ever know and be more accurate and fast that you ever will (hell, even grannies get the hang of the mouse in the first ten minutes). There are a million sudoku-like games and, ignoring the jump in mental age required, their value in mathematically or even logical skills is virtually zero (either that, or they become impossible for younger kids to solve).

    The only thing of use is the "make a presentation" thing but that's hardly educational or pedagogical.

    I hate to advertise their products but have you SEEN proper educational software? 2Simple, RM Maths (Yeurch for the company, yay for THAT ONE PIECE of software), Sherston, etc. It's miles ahead of anything that you'll find even in GCompris or the Tux bundles of software.

    Literally, the best open-source piece of educational software is TuxPaint, and that's a dire warning for the state of open-source or even free educational software. I, and the schools I work in, would give their right arms for a decent, rounded, consistent, graded piece of educational software with a decent learning curve, data recording, coverage of multiple subjects (not just basic arithmetic and colouring in).

    Not being funny, but I've *written* better pieces of software for schools (within the past year even) - it's only the fact that they own the code, and that they are all similar things (e.g. times tables, etc.) that stops me sharing them. Their educational value is minimal. But we still pay thousands for site licenses for software made by BBC educational subsidiaries nearly 25 years ago.

    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moochman ( 54872 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:33AM (#41655905)
      By supporting this bundle you are supporting open-source educational software and the project (AbulEdu) that is making the development of this software possible. If you don't feel like these particular programs are worth your money fine, but at least the idea is a noble one. Instead of complaining about the state of things and bragging about how you could do things better, why not try to get involved in one of these projects and actually make a difference that has the potential to benefit students around the world?

      Disclaimer: I don't work for the company or have anything to do with this project; I just found out about it via this news item. Just my 2c.
      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ledow ( 319597 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @07:03AM (#41655983) Homepage

        By supporting this bundle, I'm supporting people who apparently don't work in education to replicate well-catered-for sections of "educational software" (stretched to the largest definition), and encouraging them to produce more of the same.

        Or I can just not, and do what I'm already doing, which is working for schools and writing not only similar educational software, but better stuff too (and hearing left, right and centre that the "educational software" on the mass market - e.g. app stores, etc. is a complete waste of time and money and the staff would rather keep their 20+ year old software running because it does the job better than any of the modern rubbish).

        The problem is not the idea - it's the execution, and falls into the same trap that EVERYONE falls into: Education is simple and we can just knock something up that looks good and schools / parents will use it and do something positive for their kids with it.

        I deal with it every day for everything from business computer equipment suppliers (who don't understand that we need things locked down and durable, not bog-standard office supplies) to pushy parents ("Why can't we just use iTunes on all the PC's?") to software companies trying to "break into" the market (e.g. "We've made a wonderful piece of whiteboard software that does X, Y and Z, none of which you'd ever use in a classroom environment but we think they look cool when giving an exhibition at BETT so they must be helping the kids get better" - the fact you can't network it, can't run without admin permissions, can't save to network shares, can't stop it trying to go on the Internet (sometimes using Internet Explorer no matter what settings you have), we don't have a site licence, and you have to upgrade Flash twice a day or it just bums out, etc. are overlooked and are apparently "coming soon").

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          I used to work in support for about 150 different schools in the UK and this post made me chuckle, because it's amusing to see that things haven't changed.

          I was always pained by how bad education software actually was, and remember even on the admin side the school administration software was always a pile of turd too. Between Capita's SIMS, Serco's CMIS, and RM's G2 it never really suprised me why so many school secretaries seemed to just sit swearing at their computers. I always wondered how the software

          • by ledow ( 319597 )

            I have spent my entire adult career since leaving university going into schools and removing / repurposing their RM junk to actually be a functional school network.

            99.9% of the time that means wiping back the disks and starting from scratch without all their junky "network management" software (which I once used to crash an ENTIRE school network beyond recovery - as in we had to back out all the servers to a previous data and rebuild all the clients - by deploying an MSI package with a space in the filename

            • by Xest ( 935314 )

              I think I still have my RM Connect certificate somewhere, I chuckle each time I stumble across it. We were an "RM Partner" and honestly, it was never pleasant. I remember seeing their assembly line for desktops when I went to their offices in Abbingdon once, and that was worrying to say the least. I certainly got my explanation as to why we sometimes got machines straight out of the box that wouldn't boot because stupid things had been missed like PSU cables not plugged into the motherboard and such. RM con

              • by ledow ( 319597 )

                I could give you any number of stories, but sadly no pretty sales girl (not to my knowledge, anyway).

                Machines arriving with BIOS POST errors because motherboard jumpers were missing (and no, not loose in the case / box, just entirely missing).

                Machines overheating because their default BIOS was set to never check the fans at all and never warn about temperatures (in a school, ffs!).

                Machines going off for repair six times in a row and coming back each time with "CMOS Error - Checksum Incorrect". Literally ma

                • by Xest ( 935314 )

                  It sounds like I was on the opposite side of the equation to you in that I was working for a borough's education IT division that farmed out support to the schools. Despite this I still completely agree with you, the whole situation really stank, but honestly it sums up my experience of local government altogether. Despite all the e-mails and courses and posters in local government about equality, anti-corruption and so forth I can safely say to this day that local government was the most corrupt, racism, h

        • by jimicus ( 737525 )

          Interesting to note that precisely nothing has changed since 1999 - the last time I worked in a school.

          Back then, the problems were:

          • Absurd licensing requirements: "You must buy one license for every PC you want to use this software on. We've written this software so it's only really useful if each pupil can use it independently or as part of a 2-person group. We've conceived this software to be useful for one very specific part of the curriculum at a very particular age, so it's only useful for maybe a week
        • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )

          Even schools don't understand it. My university has managed to create a student portal with features such as video sharing, realtime chat, forums and more, yet it's still impossible to create a group assignment. Instead, professors need to individually grade each and every student, wasting hours in copy/pasting across everyone and making sure to correctly match often changing group members.

      • Except I agree with the original commenter. There is nothing in this bundle worth a penny, so why would I want to encourage further development of useless apps.

      • By supporting this bundle you are supporting open-source educational software and the project (AbulEdu) that is making the development of this software possible.

        So then when you download a piece of music for nothing and don't pay the artist for their effort, you're choosing not to support them which means there is no reason for them to develop more music in the future.

        Got it.
  • Why would I want software to train mice? I don't even have any mice, let alone a behavioral research lab. The market for this sort of thing must be small. /I want to sing!

  • Hmmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trickykungfu ( 778316 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:30AM (#41655893)

    - Implies an affiliation with the humble bundles, but has none
    - All of the software is from the same developer
    - The options for where to send the money are 1. the developers, 2. a non-profit organization run by the developers, or 3. the bundle website, also run by the developers
    - The software looks really terrible
    - If it's GPL, where is the link for the free distribution of the source code?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You're bang-on. Eric Seigne has a history of spamming his software in inappropriate forums, e.g.:
      http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=321776 [debian.org]

      • by hweimer ( 709734 )

        Shocking, someone using the proper method for suggesting new packages to suggest a new package!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      From http://www.linux-archive.org/edubuntu-user/709900-pay-what-you-want-educational-bundle.html - As of 10/7 all of the software was french only. There are claims that the software has been translated into english but the QA guy inside me has to wonder exactly how good that translation was / is going in less than a weeks time.

      And for the life of me I crawled all over this guys ftp site, I can't find any source code either.

      Methinks someone needs a lesson in the meaning of free open source software. It does

    • by hweimer ( 709734 )

      - If it's GPL, where is the link for the free distribution of the source code?

      As long as you recieve the link once you buy the software, there is absolutely no problem with this.

  • So... do they provide Steam keys? How do they expect to get $1M without them?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yea, we need more DRM! Maybe they can also add Securom, Targes and some proprietary online activation into the bundle, then put it on Steam and require Origin!

      • Heh, look I was joking after all. I'm actually anti-Steam (in its current form) due to the DRM... it's more of a reflection of the fact that if it weren't for the Steam keys that you get with the Humble Bundles, they probably wouldn't be raking in quite so much cash as they do.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's like they don't even filter submissions anymore, at all. The guy submitting is the "Director" of the company producing the software, and he's just using his work email! How much more obvious can you get?

    The last of many stupid articles on slashdot. This is just an advertisement for a lame, lame package of software that pretends it's a humble bundle to trick people into buying their crap. Only 17 people fell for this fortunately, as I'm writing this.

    Just remove this slashdot article already, before more

  • DO NOT BUY. (Score:5, Funny)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:03AM (#41657161) Homepage

    When you make the front page of Slashdot, with software you've written yourself, sold under the name of your one-man company, with free slashvertisement by submitting them yourself using your work email, ride on the coattails of the completely-unrelated humble bundles (seriously - zero connection), offer a pay-what-you-want scheme, and still only get (at the time of writing) 26 customers, you know it's time to find another career.

    • Meh. Don't be so mean.
    • Re:DO NOT BUY. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JazzLad ( 935151 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:49PM (#41659603) Homepage Journal
      I bought it. The downloads are crazy-slow (~62KBps on my 100mbps connection) & so far 1 (Coloriages) is not even a game, but a collection of JPG images in a zip file. Seriously. I will reply to this post with a simple review of the other "games" when the downloads eventually finish.
      • by JazzLad ( 935151 )
        Fubuki does not only not default to English, there is no English option in the game (odd given the bundle was posted to a US-centric site). Being a typical American (monolingual - at least as written languages go, I am conversant in ASL.) I couldn't get far in this game.

        The other 4 downloads were corrupt, re-downloading now at 24KBps. This fellow was not ready for /. despite posting it himself. I will have to reply to myself again in 30-60 minutes when the re-downloads complete.
        • by JazzLad ( 935151 )
          The download speeds picked up, I have downloaded & installed the other 3 (typo in previous post, 3 not 4 were corrupt), here is my review:

          Mulot is likewise not in English, no English option I can find. I did manage to get it to crash clicking around (not in menus but on the pictures - took 3 clicks).

          Calcul Mental is not fullscreen, nor can it resize. With a 1-level taskbar at 1440x900 it is slightly too tall (playable) and nearly as wide. If you run dual monitors and dare to move it to the other
          • by JazzLad ( 935151 )
            Mulot went from v1.1.0 an hour ago to v10.1.2 13 minutes ago (he sent an email stating that it had been updated to "full english translation." Will review again when it finishes downloading.
    • Hello ledow,
      please have a look at https://freecode.com/projects/abuledu [freecode.com] or https://www.ohloh.net/p/abuledu-leterrier/ [ohloh.net] or https://www.ohloh.net/p/abuledu-leterrier/enlistments [ohloh.net]

      i'm not alone but yes i'm the leader of this distribution for primary schools since 1998

      in 1998 we started without any money, in 2000 i was a one-man company, called rycks (it was my nickname since university) and in 2003 i've setting up a free software company called ryxeo and we hire 6 people who works on educational free software


  • Is afraid it contains pictures of underage boys and girls.

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