Exploring OpenOffice: what did we learn?, part I

I think all of us; me, the students the OO advocates, a thoughtful group of commenters, some instructors; I think many of us learned some things that we didn't anticipate the other day and got some interesting glimpses into the ways that other people view and interact with their computers.

Some of the people who participated in the challenge found out that it was harder than they expected.

Lessons learned

Okay, what did we learn?

1. The community is the best thing about Open Source
The Open Office advocates enjoy a challenge and are truly, quite helpful. That was something that adventure confirmed and it wasn't a surprise. After all, some of my best friends use Linux, Apache, and Perl ;-)

2. Biology is full of confusing words!
This was something that the participants learned and yes, it is. The word "biome" is not something that you'll hear in casual conversation except among ecologists and biologists who go outside. And, yes the names of the bacteria are hard to spell. I sometimes check the spelling by using Google.

It's probably even more complicated because in biology, everything except viruses, has at least two names. A first name, that we call the "genus" (plural = genera) and a last name, that we call the "species."

The funny thing, though, is that it seems that the same people who complain about biologists using unfamiliar words, will spend far more time complaining than it would take them to type the words "biome definition" into the little Google box in a web browser window and push the return key. (Of course, I don't mean you guys, these are other people I know )

Really, it's not that hard.

3. Sometimes it's hard to know how to get there if you don't quite know where you're going.
That was my fault. I assumed too much. Here's a picture that might put things into a bit more context. This shows two of the assignments that I gave out and what we were trying to do and trying to learn.


4. I'm not as nice as my photo implies

Oh, absolutely true! I have had lots of students who can verify that! LOL!

But I'm running of time today. Tomorrow, the results!

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