Talk to Administrators
Every school has different rules and procedures for students clubs and organizations. Find out what rules govern yours. Then talk to the administrators and make your pitch to establish a Linux club at your school.
You are likely to encounter administrators who have no idea what Linux is. We certainly did! A big part of the “sell” to your administration will probably be that you will be introducing your students to something that other schools are NOT doing, which will help to make your school unique.
Another part of your “sales pitch” could be that by having students using Linux and open source software, they will be exposed to software that has taken over large parts of the technology world. Most of the internet, cloud computing, software as a service (SAAS), embedded devices, and mobile computing are powered by Linux. Why shouldn’t students learn how to use it?
And, of course, a big part of the pitch would be that all of this can happen at little or no cost to the school. The software costs nothing, and you can pick up used computers cheaply or free. Your school’s I T department may even have recently retired computers that you could take off of their hands.
Have a few ideas in mind for when you meet your school’s administrators:
How many kids do you want to start with? My advice: start small and then grow big. The Asian Penguins started with about five or six kids. By the end of the first year, we had about 10. After that, anywhere from 25 to 50 was normal. The Penguin Corps started with 14 and grew to 24. There really is no wrong answer here.
Where will your club meet, and where will its computers be kept? If you are a classroom teacher, your classroom is the most obvious choice but may not be the only one. Be open to suggestion on this one, depending on the available space of your building.
When will your club meet? If your school has an after school program, perhaps after school would work. But your school day may have some other options. During homeroom? During lunch? Before school? Keep an open mind.
Doing this alone or with another adult? Consider bringing a partner on to help lead the club.
Here is a GREAT clip from one of our students explaining all of the reasons a school should start a Linux club. You may want to share this clip with your administrators.
Because many administrators want to have more opportunities for students and lack staff who will volunteer to provide them, you may provide your administration with something they need.