Hello! My name is Stu Keroff, and I am founder and director of the Asian Penguins. This group of middle school kids is the first Linux users group based in a Hmong school, and also (we think) the first Linux club based in a middle school.
We believe that “first” should not mean “only”. It has long been a goal of the Asian Penguins to see our experiment with Linux, recycled hardware, and school kids tried elsewhere. We believe that what happened at our school can happen at yours.
What is this club actually about, and why should anyone care? Well, most of our of our club’s activities fall into three categories:
- Kids learn Linux.
- Kids use that knowledge to help people in the community.
- Kids use Linux to help our school.
None of this happened overnight. We chose our activities based on what we thought was a good idea at the time. The ideas themselves grew and were added to over time. There was no guide or template for us to follow.
Then I attended the All Things Open Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, in October, 2016 to share the Asian Penguins story. Several people there requested that I write such a guide for the people who want to use the power of Linux and open source to change their schools and help their students. Or maybe they just want to help kids have fun with open source software. Either is just fine. This is my attempt at writing such a guide.
This guide draws from the trial and error experience of the Asian Penguins as they experienced learning about Linux, performed community service, and went on to help our school. It is lined out in a multi-step process, going from small to big. Please note: not every step or detail may work in your environment. Feel free to pick and choose, to try things and experiment, keeping what works for you.
Please also feel free to add your own ideas. Since this guide is to help you with implementing open source, if you come up with a new twist on how to make Linux in school work, reply with your own suggestions or improvements back. That way, we can possibly incorporate them into subsequent editions of this guide.
Please also note: while this guide is written with schools in mind, this does NOT mean that a school is the only place a Linux club can exist. This idea can easily fit into a Boys and Girls Club, a recreation center, a house of worship, a library, a community makerspace, or anywhere else kids show up. Use your imagination and have fun!
© 2017 Stuart Keroff. All rights reserved.