OpenTeacher, a new concept in educational software

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Kati Molin, Fotolia

Kati Molin, Fotolia

Customized Learning

Typically, educational software programs cannot accommodate multi-disciplinary learning. However, developers of OpenTeacher are changing the rules with the use of some very interesting concepts.

The tradition of developing high-quality and high-value educational free software that runs on Linux is well established. In addition to static instructional programs, some very flexible authoring tools are available with which teachers can put together customized learning content for their students. OpenTeacher, however, enters brand new conceptual territory. This software is equally well suited for use by teachers and students; it puts various didactic methods together under one unified interface, and it covers several subject matter areas as well.

Loading Up the System

OpenTeacher is a relatively unknown project that is not yet available in binary package format for all distributions. Therefore, even though the program is already part of the software collection found in current versions of most large Linux derivatives, the developers have put up additional binary packages and the source code on their website [1].

Note that it's possible to use current binary packages for some older operating systems. For example, Mageia 4 binaries can be installed without any problems on older Mageia and Mandriva versions.

Starting Up for the First Time

Look for OpenTeacher on the HUD, and a simply designed program window will appear. Just one look at this straightforward window is all that is needed to realize that the program offers a huge range of capabilities. The window features three large buttons that lead to functions for preparing media, topographic and linguistic lessons, along with one more button that leads to a typing tutor (Figure 1).

Figure 1: You can create various exercises from the well-organized main window.

Two dialogs in the lower part of the window make it possible to load lessons that have already been created or that come from a variety of sources on the Internet. Lessons that have recently been opened are listed to the right in a separate list window. A small horizontal button bar at the top edge of the window provides for the quick loading, saving, and printing of existing training modules. Above this is a menu bar.

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