Tux Typing for kids- A Tuxy alternative to Mavis Beacon.

Mavis Beacon without a doubt, is the most popular typing package in the world. However, a less known but better alternative to Mavis Beacon is Tux Typing. This cross platform open source typing application is designed to be intuitive, fun and educative with a special emphasis on children. It features the ever funny Tux-the official mascot of Linux- as the tutor.
Penguins are know to like fish, thus in the lessons of the application, you help Tux eat falling fishes by typing on your keyboard the corresponding letters on the fishes. You type something wrong and Tuxy will miss the fish to the ground. You can also write your own lessons as part of the teaching package. Tux Typing was designed with kids in mind but has increasingly difficult levels that even experienced typists will find challenging.
It is available for download for all platforms. Ubuntu users should just search for Tux Typing in the Ubuntu Software Center or issue sudo apt-get install tuxtype at the terminal. It is also available in the repos of most of the distros out there.

11 cool sites for free University courses.

Due to the increasing demands of modern living, a lot of people are always hard pressed for time to do things, one of which is studying. If you are one of such people, the following sites provide university courses that you can study at your leisure to fulfill that burning desire to learn something. Make time to visit these sites for they really contain lots of courses which will suit virtually all needs.  
MIT Open Courseware provides 1800 courses on diverse subjects from history to biology, from physics to astronomy. This site is a huge resource for students.
Berkeley Webcasts provides webcasts and podcasts of courses from the Unversity of California, Berkely.
Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to seven introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University namely, Astronomy, English, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology and Religious Studies.
University of Utah courses on about 14 different subjects
University of Washington courses for computer science & engineering
The Open University is a distance learning university founded to bring higher education to people who are unable to study at a conventional university.
 Notre Dame OCW is a free and open educational resource for faculty, students, and self-learners throughout the world.
 The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a collaboration of more than 100 higher education institutions and associated organizations from around the world creating a broad and deep body of open educational content using a shared model.
 Osaka University Open Course Ware Pilot is a collections of Osaka University’s educational materials which is actually used in the courses taught at Osaka University. The materials are published so that they may be accessed by those who are interested in higher education at Osaka University.
 The Web Lecture Archive Project is a joint venture between the UM-ATLAS Collaboratory Project, the University of Michigan Media Union, and CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics. Its goal is to implement this electronic archival system for slide-based presentations on the Internet.
John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health specializes in topics from medical science.
Please share with us any site you think should have been mentioned on the list.

List courtesy of Instatfundas.

3 great educational apps for Linux newbies.

One of the greatest things about Linux is that there is never a shortage of applications to meet virtually every need. Below are 3 very great educational applications that most newbie Linux users will find very useful.
FlightGear
This application is a cross platform flight simulator with lots of features you might not find in other similar applications. It is an open source application that  supports standard 3D model formats. Some of the features of this application include
  • Over 20,000 real world airports included in the full scenery set.
  • Correct runway markings and placement, correct runway and approach lighting.
  • Taxiways available for many larger airports (even including the green center line lights when appropriate.)
  • Sloping runways (runways change elevation like they usually do in real life.)
  • Directional airport lighting that smoothly changes intensity as your relative view direction changes.
  • World scenery fits on 3 DVD’s. (I’m not sure that’s a feature or a problem!) But it means it has a pretty detailed coverage of the entire world.
  • Accurate terrain worldwide, based on the most recently released SRTM terrain data. 3 arc second resolution (about 90m post spacing) for North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
  • Scenery includes all vmap0 lakes, rivers, roads, railroads, cities, towns, land cover, etc.
  • Nice scenery night lighting with ground lighting concentrated in urban areas (based on real maps) and headlights visible on major highways. This allows for realistic night VFR flying with the ability to spot towns and cities and follow roads.
  • Scenery tiles are paged (loaded/unloaded) in a separate thread to minimize the frame rate hit when you need to load new areas. 
This application really has an impressive array of features that will blow you away. On Ubuntu, FlightGear can be installed via the synaptic package manager and other distro users can  download and install here.
Sakai CLE
This application, according to the site, is “[a] free and open source Courseware Management System. It features a set of software tools designed to help instructors, researchers and students collaborate online in support of their work–whether it be course instruction, research or general project collaboration.
“For coursework, Sakai provides features to supplement and enhance teaching and learning. For collaboration, Sakai has tools to help organize communication and collaborative work on campus and around the world. Using a web browser, users choose from Sakai’s tools to create a site that meets their needs. To use Sakai, no knowledge of HTML is necessary.
“But the product vision reaches beyond teaching and learning applications. Many Sakai deployments include as many or more project and research collaboration sites. In addition, the Open Source Portfolio e-Portfolio system is a core part of the Sakai software. Finally, the Sakaibrary project links library resources to Sakai.”
You can find the  download instructions of Sakai  here.
Sage
This is a free Open Source mathematics software written in python. The mission of sage is to create a viable, free and open source alternative to Magma, Maple, Mathematica and Matlab.
Sage can be used to study general and advanced, pure and applied mathematics. This includes a huge range of mathematics, including algebra, calculus, elementary to very advanced number theory, cryptography, numerical computation, commutative algebra, group theory, combinatorics, graph theory, exact linear algebra and much more. It combines various software packages and seamlessly integrates their functionality into a common experience. It is well suited  for education, studying and research.  There is also a liveCD that you can directly run Sage from to get a feel of it. You can also download it for a full installation on your system.
What other application would you have loved to see on the list? Please share yours.
 

4 sites all new Linux users must bookmark.

More and more people are migrating to the world of Linux day by day. However, most of these new users are people who have absolutely no prior knowledge or experience with Linux and how it works. Thus, most of them end up getting frustrated at the kind of learning curve they encounter. It is in this regard that I have compiled this short list of sites that can be helpful to new users in scaling the sometimes steep learning curve they meet.
This is a site where you 
you will find collections of useful courses to help you better use the applications found on the Linux distributions. There are also forums, chatrooms, courses, and help materials at your disposal. You can enroll in courses by registering for a new account. If you are a new user, clicking on login on the top right will take you to the create a new account section. Most courses can be copied in their entirety and restored in local Moodle instances. All the courses are public and are accessible via the guest account or username and password you were assigned by the teacher or system administrator, including, possibly an enrollment key. It really is a site worth bookmarking especially for beginners.
You probably might have been used to some applications on the Windows platform and are wondering if there is an Open Source alternative available to you. This is the site you need to visit. It has a massive collection of applications that are very useful as alternatives to most of the applications on the Windows platform. It is a must visit site if you want better alternatives to commercial softwares even for Windows users. Definitely a must bookmark.
If you ever need help as a Linux user of any distro, then Linux Questions is the place to go. It has subforums for virtually all the distros out there, with a a massive community of active users that are always eager to help you in whatever way they can. Definitely a must visit site.
This site is directory of various Linux related blogs on the web. It is updated continuously and thus you can keep up to date with the various development, news, analysis, gossip and much more happening in the world of Linux and Open Source in general.
This list is by no means a complete one and people may know of better sites than the ones I have compiled here. If you are among such people, please share your list with us in the comments so we can all benefit from them . Share.  

CLASSROOMS BEFORE LAPTOPS.

The government of Ghana, together with other third world governments all over the world have signed on to the One Laptop per Child project. There is no doubt that the project in itself is a laudable one. To make the effort of making ICT available to children in the third world is a very noble cause. However, I believe it is very important for us as a nation here in Ghana to get and set our priorities straight.Some few months ago, there was a scandal involving the payment of some huge sums of money by the government for the OLPC project. In an age where the whole world is moving at a pace that is unprecedented in the history of mankind, here in Ghana, you get school children who have to KNEEL under TREES to take lessons. That in my opinion is very much unacceptable and i believe against the fundamental rights of those innocent children.So my piece of advice to the government is that instead of committing resources to the OLPC project, it should rather focus on making sure every school going child in this country sits under a roof and on a desk. Give the children the chance to take lessons even when it rains since a lot of the children in rural Ghana have to close lessons as soon as it begins to rain because they are sitting under trees. Give the children the basic necessity before giving them laptops. In any case, what will be the use of a laptop to a child who sits under a tree to study and has no electricity in his or her town.In short, i say to the government, please, first things first. Share your thoughts.