USB flash drives with Live Lernstick distro deliver educational software in schools

Setup

Once the wizard has done its job, start the computer from the prepared medium. The sequence is identical to starting from DVD. If you installed the system on a hard disk, you also choose Start Lernstick; the Boot from hard drive item takes you nowhere.

After the first start, a small wizard appears to prompt you for a few basic settings (Figure 6). Just two points are important here: Under Additions, you can install a few frequently used programs. If you use a proxy to access the Internet, you need to add the proxy data from this wizard, as well.

Figure 6: The setup wizard also provides a few links to further information.

Press Apply to save your changes, and close the window by pressing Finish. Later, you can access the wizard from the Welcome menu. You manage the current system just like Debian. The package manager is available in the desktop Start menu (in Applications | System | Software if you are using KDE).

Clone Warrior

After setting up a USB stick, you should quickly create as many copies as you need, especially if you want to provide sticks to several students. The original can be kept in a drawer as a backup system for emergencies.

To copy the system, boot Lernstick once again and select Data partition | Not used in the opening menu. This ensures that the partition remains in a consistent state during the copy action. Now boot the system via Start Lernstick.

As with a DVD, storage media management should launch automatically; otherwise, you will find it in the KDE Start menu under Applications | System | Lernstick. Select Install the system on storage media, and in the second step select the disk to which you want to copy the system.

In the Data partition tab, check Copy data partition. If you have created a data exchange partition, switch to the Exchange partition (optional) tab and check Copy exchange partition. After clicking Next, type Overwrite hard drive for the wizard to create an exact clone.

Books Out!

The exam version simply consists of a normal system with an extremely limited selection of software. The only desktop offered is KDE. Before distributing the environment on a USB stick to your test candidates, it is thus important to install all the programs they need retrospectively. All told, the system behaves like the standard version, but the desktop is shown in red (Figure 7). It makes sense to choose a different color.

Figure 7: In the test environment, you should (1) change the password, (2) install all the programs necessary for the examination, (3) change the color of the desktop.

Whereas the students are allowed to install programs on a standard Lernstick and change the settings, only the administrator (generally, the teacher) is allowed to do this in the exam environment. The administrator has to authorize launching of the package manager and other management programs by entering the admin password. If this is not set after the first boot, you can enter it in the Welcome window.

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