Can OpenOffice replace MS Office for school work?

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Can OpenOffice replace MS Office for school work?

Postby fallstalk » Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:12 am

Hi, It's amazing that I found my way here. I recently (while downloading a Java update) found myself downloading Open Office! Have young school age kids and our computer came with Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office Tools, etc. Do you recommend OO to my family and basically ignore the MS Word? Or maybe remove it?! Basically it is used for school work...
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Re: Can OpenOffice replace MS Office for school work?

Postby acknak » Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:21 am

[split off from]

I think this question is different enough that it should have it's own thread.

I'd say the main thing you have to be careful of is that many "free" copies of Word or MS Office that come with new computers now, are actually time-limited trial copies that eventually run out, and you have to buy MS Office in order to keep working with your documents.

But, sorry, I don't know how you can check to see if your copy is limited or not. Maybe someone else can suggest a way to check.

For most anything that kids up through high school would be doing, I think OOo would be more than adequate, feature-wise.

However, many schools (US schools anyway), seem to be really locked in to the MS mindset, and some teachers may not be prepared to accept anything else, or may take points off if the student's work is not perfectly compatible with the teacher's MS Office. I've even heard of situations where a student was marked down for work in OpenOffice that was different than MS Excel, even though OOo had the correct answer and Excel did not. Some people really do have the attitude that "if isn't the answer I got with Excel, then it's wrong."
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Re: Can OpenOffice replace MS Office for school work?

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:08 am

Teachers have a enormous responsibility about new technologies and office tools here because they set the habits for the future of the kids. Imagine that a company one day buy 80% of your country's roads, design a car that can run only on these roads. Imagine he gives the cars to driving schools to "help" poor citizens to access the freedom of driving.

Then everybody will learn to drive with these cars (and the teachers will be happy to have cars for free). And then? what happens when they want to drive themselves? They must buy a car from that company and only from that one because of the patents forbidding other companies to design cars compatible with these roads.

Got the picture?
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Re: Can OpenOffice replace MS Office for school work?

Postby Runnin' Ute » Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:48 am

I wear a couple of different hats in my current professional life, one a tech support agent for an e-commerce firm by day and adjunct faculty teaching accounting at a local college by night. Obviously this gives a bit of a educational flavor to my answer. I say go for it. Students at our campus our issued laptops with Vista/Office 2007 when they arrive. They get to take it with them when they graduate.

When I first started teaching at this school I was running an old HP Pentium 3 machine on NT 4.0 w/64 mg ram and Office 97. I am on a much newer HP now, with XP SP3 and OOo 2.4.1. If a student turned it work prepared on any MS Office, OOo, I wouldn't have a problem with it - as long as I could open it if it were an electronic version. The first class I taught, I had a couple of students who turned in .docx/.xslx files I couldn't open. As you can imagine, I am looking forward to being able to open those documents once we have the Final release of OOo 3. I had to ask them to resend them to me after having saved in 97-03 version so I could access, but beyond that I have had no issues.

I think that we need to encourage people (especially students) to explore something a bit different that may not be "what everyone else has". It encourages creativity - always a good thing in my mind.
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Re: Can OpenOffice replace MS Office for school work?

Postby jmaggio » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:51 pm

I am a computer teacher at a small catholic school. I also support the 170 or so computers we have. Most were running office 2000 and we were getting many office 2007 files from home computers. Since many of the computers are scheduled to be replaced soon, we had to decide whether to buy office 2007 licenses this summer for the first 60 new computers. As a school we get the professional license for about $60us. If you multiply that by 170 computers that is a chunk of money for a small school. We decided to install OOo 2.4 on the 30 lab computers and 30 laptops we purchased. I am now teaching all grades the basics of OOo writer, calc and impress. The students have only a few issues, mostly with the nicer clip art, backgrounds that MS office supplies. The plan was to try OOo on the 60 computers and evaluate the decision at the end of the year. If it did not work out, then we can buy the MS Office licenses and if it did work out, I would install the latest OOo on all computers even if the had MS Office on them.

So far I have had quite a few requests for OOo to be installed in other classrooms. Many of the students have taken OOo home on their flash drives. There are a few issues when saving as Ms files or opening MS office files. None are too bad. In my classes we stay with native OOo files unless the student needs it at home and i encourage them to install OOo instead of saving as a MS office file. I believe by the end of the year with OOo 3 installed there will be a general consensus that we do not need to purchase MS office. As a side benefit while looking for a program to replace frontpage, I found trellian Webpage which is free and much nicer. We are also using Tux Paint to replace old buggy versions of Kid Pix and which is also free to do replace nothing, we only had paint. Now if I could find a free program to replace using MS Movie Maker, I would really be happy. All the programs I have looked at are too difficult for a 5th/6th grader to work. I need a drag and drop type of program.

Yes, I believe that OOo can be successfully used in an elementary (k - 8) school.
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Re: Can OpenOffice replace MS Office for school work?

Postby keme » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:39 pm

There are quite a few schools where it would be perfectly OK to use Open Office for work submitted, as the responses from school representatives here indicate. Still, your future partially depends on the grades you get, so you must ensure that you will not lose marks by using OOo. Talk to your teacher(s) first!
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Re: Can OpenOffice replace MS Office for school work?

Postby Weatherlawyer » Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:52 am


I just came here from the Keele University site which obliges its students to use Microsoftware, in this day and age.

No wonder we keep losing space craft:

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Re: Can OpenOffice replace MS Office for school work?

Postby Weatherlawyer » Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:52 am

ou can book your free computer session at any of the libraries in Stoke-on-Trent.

There is a range of applications on all the computers including:

# Microsoft Word;
# Microsoft Excel;
# Microsoft PowerPoint;
# MSN Messenger;
# Internet Explorer;
# Email via the Internet; and
# Acrobat reader

Our friendly staff are on hand to help if you have any problems. :D
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Re: Can OpenOffice replace MS Office for school work?

Postby wilkat1 » Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:33 pm

In short, yes. I got through seminary, (a 3-year graduate program) without using MS Office or my outdated version of WordPerfect. When I had to email papers I sent them as PDF files (so they would look correct) and learned to use OOo's superior formatting options to compose very professional-looking papers. I used Impress to make several PowerPoint presentations as well (though I did proof them using the library's M$-equipped computers).

Once a fellow student had a .doc file that wouldn't open on her computer - the computer she had used to create the file. I loaded it onto my jump drive, opened it in OOo without a problem, saved it again as a .doc so she was able to finish it and print. Right then I knew that sticking with OOo was the right decision.

So whether the extra cash to upgrade from the trial version of Office is worth it is really up to the individual. I've been an evangelist for some time now.
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