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MX18 Continuum Childrens' Education Snapshot

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:25 am
by manyroads
Hello all.

I have built a children's version of MX18 Continuum. The current version (the one I'm sharing) is geared to children in grades K-2. The current snapshot is in what I'd call an alpha (or maybe pre-alpha) stage. It works for me... but will it work for you?!?! I just don't know. The current version is comprised of several unique features including:
Childrens Desktop.jpg
  • There are 4 xfce panels (top, bottom, left, right)
  • I have elected to use Chromium rather than firefox because it is easy to create site specific browsers (most are on the top panel)
  • I have stripped many applications that are not child oriented.
  • I have added about 30 applications that are child oriented.
  • A few of the applications I have included are web-based.
  • I have customized the wallpapers (all are geared to kids and downloaded from Pixabay.
  • I elected to use Parole rather than VLC, because it works better for my oldest grandson (age 5.5).
  • My grandson likes the wallpapers to change. So they do. Adjust to 'taste.'
What I would like from those of you brave enough to test this are your honest comments. :happy:
  • Are there applications or sites you feel should be included in a general release/ snapshot?
  • What are your thoughts?
  • Do you think this should include Calibre (to manage books) as well as a separate ebook reader?
Known 'problems'/ issues. :eek:
  • I am unable to find a youth Wordprocessor.
  • On the version I have for my grandson, I have a launcher that accesses a library of youtube educational videos for him; that is not here (due to copyright risks). They are okay to download and view, but I don't think I can provide them in this snapshot to others; you'll have to get your own.
  • I have not included links to public domain children's books (like the Oz books, Dr. Doolittle, Mar Poppins, etc.). I can if there is interest I can provide a launcher to my online Dropbox libraries.
  • I'm pretty certain the minimum viable screen size is 1366x768.
  • Synapse is available if you like it, like I do. However, I have not mapped to a key.
  • The conky needs a few tweaks, still.
A couple of final thoughts/ points:
  • If anyone wants to help with this effort... please let me know what you'd like to do. ;)
  • I will add branding for and acknowledgement of MXLinux with the release.
Here is a link to the folder with the mx-edu snapshot.iso on Dropbox (be advised it is 1.8GB):

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a8p54zth8wkh ... WNx9a?dl=0

Explore, test, but most of all I hope you enjoy.

Re: MX18 Continuum Childrens' Education Snapshot

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:15 pm
by bigbenaugust
Do you have a list of applications? Or a repo and a meta-package I could add to my existing MX boxes?
Father of a homeschooled 3rd grader and 1st grader here with two MX boxes at home that the kids use somewhat regularly, but only to play minetest right now. Mom occasionally asks about typing practice and educational things and the Debian repos are so large I don't know where to start.

Re: MX18 Continuum Childrens' Education Snapshot

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:24 pm
by manyroads
Hi @BigBenAugust, all that is in the install set (snapshot). If you have either a 'spare' PC or some 30GB of "spare disk space" you can install and beat away at everything to your heart's content. I even have the browser (chrome) setup to be child safe.

Re: MX18 Continuum Childrens' Education Snapshot

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:30 pm
by cyrilus31
I don't know for the US but there are many educational distribution in France for children, often based on Ubuntu. For example you can find

Primtux developed by teachers.

Just in case, did you make a search in distrowatch with the keyword Education?

Re: MX18 Continuum Childrens' Education Snapshot

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:52 pm
by chrispop99
I've done similar things for my grandchildren. I usually remove Libre Office, and install Abiword; it's quite good for older children.

I'm busy for a day or two, but will take a look as soon as I can.

Chris

Re: MX18 Continuum Childrens' Education Snapshot

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:21 pm
by manyroads
Thank you @chrispop99. I look forward to your comments. :number1:

@cyrilus31 I did research on active children's distros, there is only Edubuntu actively operating in the US and their last release was in 2015 vers. 14.02 of Ubuntu. As for France (the whole EU actually), I did not discover any actively updated and enhanced distros with functioning/ functional software. I did find websites that said they provided tools, but everything I downloaded failed to work. :frown:

I, also, checked the Debian Edu program. It seems to be basically non-functioning. Even many of the 'standalone' open source tools for learning seem to be falling into disrepair. :bawling:

To compensate, I have added many links using site specific browsing (SSB) with chromium. I elected to avoid ice-ssb due to difficulties it has running on our Debian base with various browsers. I figured if I had to use specific browers, I might as well go with one that allows for the creation of SSB without the overhead of having ICE-SSB. :cool: (For more specifics, you can see my article on the topic on the MX Forums at: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=47627&p=475879&hili ... er#p475879 ) ;)

As for word processing etc... I came across ooo4kids (a now defunct Open Office program). There is a site in France that says it supports the tool set however, I was unable to get either the English or German versions to run. Their last update appears to have been around 2015. Here's the link: http://educoo.org/OOo4Kids.php :frown:

Re: MX18 Continuum Childrens' Education Snapshot

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:11 pm
by chrispop99
I have knowledge of, and an interest in, the Raspberry Pi project. Its aim is to teach and entertain children at both a hardware and software level.

Perhaps you might get some ideas about what to include from that project?

https://www.raspberrypi.org/

Chris

Re: MX18 Continuum Childrens' Education Snapshot

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:02 pm
by old_guy
How about including:

Great Websites for Kids

http://gws.ala.org/

And maybe looking at:

Kojo

http://www.kogics.net/kojo

Earl

Re: MX18 Continuum Childrens' Education Snapshot

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:13 pm
by manyroads
@chrispop99 & @oldguy Thank you for the links. I'll see how I can use them.

I have been thinking (a bad idea, I know) that there's a whole class of resources that often better fit on an instructor/ teacher/ mentor/ coach Desktop. :cool2: I don't know if I should integrate both the kid's and teacher's on the same setup or if I should have them separate.

Your ideas, thoughts are most welcome.... :thumbup:

Re: MX18 Continuum Childrens' Education Snapshot

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:31 pm
by BitJam
If you are interested in maintaining this version over a number of years then you might want to look into our build-iso program. We use it for building both antiX and MX. Other people have used it to make their own customized distros in the past. It builds up an iso from scratch, mostly using lists of packages to install but there is also room for customizing the theme.