I limit my use of the word best. Most things do not apply. Educational technology is a field steeped in things called the best but may under perform. A tool that seems to live up to the standards of quality educational resources is called Zotero. Their software is simply superb. It manages collections of research in a way that is broadly useful for learning. A source says It was developed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Far more interesting than that is this system called UberStudent.
Getting to Know UberStudent
A more comprehensive educational technology environment is UberStudent. An operating system for researchers and students that is quite simply a genius creation. According to a reviewer it was the most pleasant experience they had running a Linux-based operating system. A few screenshots and videos shed light on why UberStudent is such a great solution for education and research.
Transforming the Education Environment
A great business could be built around setting up schools with UberStudent where there is already interest in digital learning tools. This would be the right tool for those environments. Yes, UberStudent would be a great solution for school systems, universities, various kinds of research institutions willing to make the leap into a more substantive educational technology platform. All that is needed is the right vision, definition, project management, execution, and collaborative support model. The company RedHat has pioneered such a thing and that could be expanded further.
Document Formats as the Barrier
The primary impediment to the progress of this solution could be Microsoft Office. Students would run UberStudent but everyone would have to adopt the OpenDocument format. That means ending the use of .docx and .xlsx and using .odt and .ods instead. Across the board. That way, student submissions are cleanly viewed and understood and the entire school system benefits with a technology solution that is comprehensive and cost effective.
Complete conversion to the OpenDocument format means the switch from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice is less of a concern. You can hard wire Microsoft Office to use OpenDocument Text or you can save to that format manually in MS Word. Extensive testing needs to be done to see how well Microsoft’s use of the OpenDocument format is received by LibreOffice and the reverse. The benchmark is LibreOffice since that is the more available platform by cost and open standardization.
UberStudent is Based on Xubuntu
It uses a proven technology base that is highly polished and enhanced for the purposes of education and research. It could become the widespread environment to deploy in schools and universities. The right team involved in such an effort could make a difference. A team willing to become the RedHat of educational technology. The prospect of UberStudent to create a higher quality learning environment lingers tempting fate. In those environments that can make that leap, it is a great opportunity.