Hello! My name is Stu Keroff, and I am the founder of the Community School of Excellence Asian Penguins and the Aspen Academy Penguin Corps.
These groups of middle school kids were the first Linux clubs in Minnesota schools.
"First" was never meant to be "only", and it has long been our goal to see our experiment with Linux, recycled hardware, and student technicians tried elsewhere. We are delighted to see that other schools now starting Linux clubs of their own. We believe that what happened at these schools can happen at yours.
What are these clubs actually about? Most Linux club activities fall into three categories:
Kids learn Linux: not just use it, but install and configure it.
Kids use Linux to help their schools.
Kids use Linux to help communities.
None of this happened overnight. Club activities were chosen based on what we thought was a good idea at the time. The ideas themselves grew and were added to over time. There was no guide or template for us to follow.
Then I attended the All Things Open Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, in October, 2016 to share the Linux club story. Several people there requested that I write a "how to" guide for the people who wanted to use the power of Linux and open source to help their students and change their schools. Or maybe they just wanted to help kids have fun with open source software. Either is just fine.
As requested, here is that guide.
This guide draws from the trial and error experience of the Asian Penguins and Penguin Corps as the students learned about Linux, helped our school, and went on to perform community service. It is lined out in a multi-step process, going from small to big. Please note: not every step or detail may apply in your environment. Feel free to pick and choose, to try things and experiment, keeping what works for you.
Please also feel free to add your own ideas. Since this guide is to help you with implementing open source, if you come up with a new twist on how to make Linux work in school, reply back with your own suggestions or improvements. That way, I can possibly incorporate them into future editions of this guide.
Please also note: while this guide is written with schools in mind, this does NOT mean that a school is the only place a Linux club can exist. This idea can easily fit into a Boys and Girls Club, a recreation center, a house of worship, a library, a community maker space, or anywhere else kids show up. Use your imagination and have fun!
© 2017 Stuart Keroff. All rights reserved.