OpenOffice is a great way to push students out of the comfort zone that has been afforded to them with the Micorosoft Office suite of products.We should be teaching students core computer skills and not a specific program. In theory, students should be just as successful whether they are using OpenOffice,Microsoft Word,or Corel WordPerfect. MS Office is not always going to be in every school or business that you might find your self so OO is a great alternative to the same types of software but available for free.OpenOffice is a great tool for college students on a tight budget, or for instructors in planning lessons, designing templates, and slide show lectures/presentations. In addition, OpenOffice is also compatible with Assistive Technologies such as screen readers (like ZoomText or JAWS) and full keyboard navigation.
I also discovered the Open Office for Kids, or OOo4Kids web site. The main video and their description, show how OOo4Kids is geared toward kids aged 7-12 and based on OO source code.Everything is made with the idea to contribute back to OpenOffice.org Project, through OpenOffice.org Education Project, and students projects.
Anyone have experience with OpenOffice in your classroom? I would love to hear how your students respond to it after using MS Office for so long. Any learning curves?