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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Puppy Projects
Puppy in Primary School
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Its Gone Funny

Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Reading, UK

PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb 2008, 11:51    Post subject:  Puppy in Primary School
Subject description: Had an idea about using Puppy to give special needs kids laptop access
 

Hi - I'm Helen and a big fan of Puppy, though no expert.

My ten-year-old son has Aspergers Syndrome and his class teacher said he was going to apply for money to get him a laptop to use in class, because though his imagination, vocabulary and use of words are great, noone can read his handwriting.

Since I run a computer support business I have a few old laptops lying around, so I said I would supply one, rather than wait ages for the system to grant him one.

I immediately thought of installing Puppy on his laptop for all the usual reasons and started hunting around for a hard drive to put in a low spec laptop I had lying around.

Then I had a brilliant idea.

What about installing Puppy in a flash drive? Then all his documents will go on there, and he just has to carry round a memory stick rather than a big bag.

Then I had an even more brilliant idea.

Why not donate all these crappy laptops to the school, leave them in strategic places and give all the kids who would benefit their own customised memory stick containing Puppy and their documents. Each child their own "computer" for an outlay of £8 per child.

Just one thing bugs me, how are they going to print? Well they can plug into the classroom desktop computers. But they will need Microsoft format documents. I know AbiWord will save as .doc but only if you tell it to every time. It needs to be configurable so that they can't mess it up. OpenOffice can be told to save in a particular format but isn't it a bit big for a 1gb memory stick?

I wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this, or the project in general.

Thanks,

Helen
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lluamco

Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Posts: 207
Location: Banyoles, Spain

PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb 2008, 12:24    Post subject:  

Hello Helen,
Abiword can be set to save .doc files as default. In order to do that, you need to edit the file AbiWord.Profile (located in
/root/.AbiSuite directory). Towards the bottom, there is a section like
Code:

       <Scheme
                name="_custom_"
                AutoSpellCheck="0"
                AutoGrammarCheck="0"
                ZoomPercentage="117"
                />

You need to insert the line

DefaultSaveFormat=".doc"

above the />

It should look like this
Code:

 <Scheme
                name="_custom_"
                AutoSpellCheck="0"
                AutoGrammarCheck="0"
                ZoomPercentage="117"
                DefaultSaveFormat=".doc"
                />

Save the file and you are done!

(This is adapted from windows instructions found in
http://www.abisource.com/wiki/WinFaqAlwaysSaveAsWord )

Hope it helps.
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Its Gone Funny

Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Reading, UK

PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb 2008, 13:14    Post subject: Thanks  

That's great - solved one problem.

Kind of having a change of heart here - just cannot get poxy laptop to boot from USB. I maybe should install Puppy to the hard drive, then everyone can just have their own save file on their memory stick.

If I do that, can I make it so that any saved documents will go to the memory stick by default? Otherwise everyone's documents will be scattered around the hard disk on a way that is supremely annoying to the teachers.

Just noticed that I'm in "Advanced Topics" forum - I hope I'm not irritating anyone with my idiocy. Should I set up camp somewhere else?

Cheers,

Helen
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Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb 2008, 15:24    Post subject:  

teenpup
http://www.puppylinux.org/wikka/TeenPup

edupup
http://www.edupup.org/

printing
http://puppylinux.org/wikka/Printing

welcome to the kennels Smile

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Last edited by Lobster on Sun 05 Apr 2009, 22:46; edited 1 time in total
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pistoi0

Joined: 25 Oct 2005
Posts: 112
Location: Hartford, CT

PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb 2008, 18:00    Post subject: Helen, this works  

Hello, Helen.

Your ideas are brilliant, and achievable! I have recently completed a special Puppy for a teacher who designed a project for her students who have reading deficits.

The result is based on the genius and generosity of the Puppy community. All thanks and kudos go to Raffy, et al, who created Safepup, and Slapshot, designer of EduPup, whose wallpaper is used. Students each have a 1 G USB drive. They save their work on this device, using the already included Textmaker word processor from Safepup. This WP can be set to save in MS .doc format. Students can transport their work from school, to home, and printer to printer.

The key to achieving what you seek is to alter the file /etc/fstab:

/dev/ram0 /initrd ext2 defaults 0 0
none /proc proc defaults 0 0
none /sys sysfs defaults 0 0
none /dev/pts devpts gid=2,mode=620 0 0
/dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy auto noauto,rw 0 0
/dev/hda /mnt/hda vfat noauto,noexec 0 0
/dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1 vfat defaults 0 0

I tweaked the Safepup so that it is fairly untamperable. Students' work can be saved only on the USB drive. It boots immediately to a pre-selected website, thus minimizing potential frustration (and distraction). I would be delighted to share what I have learned.

P.S. -- would someone kindly instruct me on how to insert a screenshot in a forum post in order to help Helen and others visualize this approach.




[img][/img]
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muggins

Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 6690
Location: lisbon

PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb 2008, 18:50    Post subject:  

pistoi0,

you can easily add a screenshot by just clicking Browse, then select the .png or jpg image, then Add Attachment.

Just be aware that it's best to crop your image to a sensible size, as not everyone uses larger screen resolutions.
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pistoi0

Joined: 25 Oct 2005
Posts: 112
Location: Hartford, CT

PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb 2008, 19:19    Post subject:  

Thank you, Muggins.

Here is the screenshot. showing a "my-project" folder, which shows the contents of the USB drive. It is the student's workspace. You also see an icon for Tonicpoint, an acceptable .ppt slide viewer. The wallpaper is compliments of Slapshot (EduPup). Aside from the browser button, nothing else appears on the desktop. Of course, you can add whatever you wish.

The USB drive can be inserted at boot time or after the the Puppy has loaded. It can be safely removed and reinserted, provided the saving data process has completed.
projectpic.png
 Description   Share Project .png
 Filesize   350.35 KB
 Viewed   930 Time(s)

projectpic.png

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Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb 2008, 23:32    Post subject:  

muggins wrote:

you can easily add a screenshot by just clicking Browse, then select the .png or jpg image, then Add Attachment.


This method also allows you to use the image in the wiki, your blog etc and saves John Murgas (forum provider) bandwidth . . .

    Take a screen shot using Start//Graphics/mtpaint snapshot

    scale image by using
    image/scale canvas in mtpaint
    (width of about 580 for above sizing)

    go to this URL
    http://imageshack.us/

    get the link
    http://tinypic.com/ht62q9.jpg

    post it here on the forum, highlight and click on img
    Code:
    [img]http://tinypic.com/ht62q9.jpg[/img]

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Last edited by Lobster on Sun 05 Apr 2009, 22:58; edited 3 times in total
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4796
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb 2008, 00:35    Post subject: Re: share / download  

pistoi0 wrote:
I would be delighted to share what I have learned.

Thanks, pisto, and welcome to the forum, Helen.

Pisto, I have sent you a PM and email about where to upload any file you may want to share.
------------------
ADDED: For people reading this, the download URL for pistoi0's sfs is
http://minipc.org/kids/

It is to be used only with puppy 2.13 (safepup is built from 2.13).

_________________
Puppy user since Oct 2004. Want FreeOffice? Get the sfs (English only).

Last edited by raffy on Sun 05 Apr 2009, 21:39; edited 1 time in total
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pistoi0

Joined: 25 Oct 2005
Posts: 112
Location: Hartford, CT

PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb 2008, 00:44    Post subject:    

@ Lobster

Thank you.

I have been enlightened.

My approach is now altered.


@raffy

Thank you and duly noted.
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Its Gone Funny

Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Reading, UK

PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb 2008, 12:04    Post subject:  Interim thank you! and more questions  

Thank you all so much, especially Pisto, for showing me this can be done. That screenshot is exactly what I want. But slightly confused about how to achieve this.

So far I have plain Puppy installed on the hard drive of the test machine. I have been reading about /etc/fstab and tinkering with the file to no apparent effect.

Do I need to be starting from EduPup? Or SafePup? Incidentally network access is not required, at least not on a daily basis. The point of the laptop(s) is so that certain kids can stay sitting round their usual table typing while their peers write in their books. If they had internet access or anything too cool on their laptops, everyone would get distracted. I think. I used to be an IT teacher and I know that kids will do anything to surf the web instead of working.

Maybe I could just have the special Puppy you developed, Pisto? Very very sorry if asking that question is not the way things are done round here.

Oooh and here's a cool feature I would love.

I would love it if when a child plugged in their memory stick, their name appeared on the desktop somewhere.

I know I am demanding but I am also very grateful.

Meanwhile - EduPup has just finished downloading so now I'll give it a go.

Thanks,

Helen
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pistoi0

Joined: 25 Oct 2005
Posts: 112
Location: Hartford, CT

PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb 2008, 15:10    Post subject:  

@Helen

My apology. I neglected to include another bit of the key. Having made the changes to /etc/fstab as I suggested, you must also make a change to /etc/rc.d/rc.local, as follows.

Append this bit of code after your firewall settings:

modprobe usb_storage
sleep 5

mkdir /mnt/sda1
mount /mnt/sda1

You should now see a folder, sda1, appear on the desktop following boot up. This will automatically mount the student's USB drive.

You may apply this approach to any version of Puppy, at least for the 2.xx series.

I found an enabling discussion of this process in the forum by searching for "automount usb drive.' Incidentally I use the Puppy google web search tool found at wellminded.com.

I also agree that the personalized computer identity would be very nice. I will poke around for suggestions. And as you have seen, this is a very friendly forum. Perhaps others have a solution for personalization.

Best wishes.
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Its Gone Funny

Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Reading, UK

PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb 2008, 15:24    Post subject: Ah - progress  

Thanks for the rc.local tip, just what I needed!
I think I may have a cheap and cheerful approach to solving the personal identity thing.

Everyone makes a directory with their own name on their memory stick. Then you put a shortcut to each of these folders on the desktop.

When someone puts in their memory stick the shortcut changes from an exclamation icon to a "proper" icon. I daresay this icon could be a thumbnail photo though I haven't looked into this. Bit rough, but could work, eh?

Attached screenshot shows rough version for johnny and helen. It also features someone about to save their work to the usb drive in .doc format. Yay! Thanks all for getting me this far.
screenshot.png
 Description   
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 Viewed   1173 Time(s)

screenshot.png

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muggins

Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 6690
Location: lisbon

PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb 2008, 21:37    Post subject:  

I don't know if you would want to go down this route, but for children I think it would be fun if they each had their own puppy background when they started.

This is easily achieved by adding whatever .jpg image you wanted to use, to /usr/share/backgrounds, then running puppybackgroundmenu, selecting an image, then choosing stretch.

They would be able to use any image they could find, or maybe draw their own, and save to the background directory.
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Sit Heel Speak


Joined: 30 Mar 2006
Posts: 2595
Location: downwind

PostPosted: Thu 21 Feb 2008, 21:59    Post subject:  

I've managed to remaster Hacao's office-2.02CE with the fonting all nicely tweaked. Open Office and Seamonkey both look beautiful and it is only 209 MB. I'll look in here seven hours from now, see if I can incorporate everyone's suggestions, and upload the live-CD ISO image to my space on caneri's server. Sorry, Helen, I don't know how to backport HotPup so as to reliably achieve automounting of a student's USB flashkey on a Puppy this old. But I think this will meet your needs. Back in seven. SHS
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