Purpose and Need

Assuming you want to take your newfound desire to spread Linux into school and get kids involved, you have to determine the purpose of your school’s Linux club.

We discovered a club can have more than one purpose, and having more than one purpose worked well for us. As I see it, a school-based Linux club can have a few possible purposes:

    1. Education and fun for kids: The club can simply be an opportunity for kids to learn some new skills, make friends, and have some fun. Do NOT downplay how powerful that can be, and for your purposes, that may be enough.

    2. Helping your school or organization: Community School of Excellence needed more computers. Our Linux club raised money and took in computer donations to meet that need. Then, the kids in the club installed the software to get the computers ready for students to use. Aspen Academy had retired some old laptops and was unsure of what to do with them, while at the same time had classrooms that did not have enough computers. The Penguin Corps refurbished those laptops with Linux, got them working again, and now they are being used in several classrooms.

    3. Community service: Community School of Excellence’s student population is largely made up of refugees or children of refugees and has a high amount of poverty. Many of the families cannot afford computers, so the Asian Penguins made providing those families with computers part of our mission. The Penguin Corps at Aspen Academy had to meet an even greater need when our school went to Distance Learning due to COVID-19 and students had to attend school from home. We eventually distributed over 300 computers to students for use at home.

Of course, doing all of them is certainly a viable choice, and that eventually became the choice we made, but we started off just having fun. The other bits came later.

How about you? What type of club is needed at your school? Do you want to give kids an opportunity to learn new things and have fun? Do your classrooms need more computers than your school can provide? Does your school have a Digital Divide with families who need computers but cannot afford them?

Identify the need and the purpose for your group to get started, and be open to your purpose growing as you go along.

© 2017 Stuart Keroff. All rights reserved.