Interview with Diane Leikvold

DianeLeikvold Emma Marshall: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Diane Leikvold: I am the network administrator, desktop support, and technology coordinator at Longmont Christian School in Longmont, Colorado. I also teach keyboarding to 4th and 5th graders, and Google Docs to middle school students and teachers. My hobbies are biking, Zumba, camping, being outdoors in the sun. I have been married for 24 wonderful years to my husband Kurt, and we have 2 grown boys.

EM: How did you discover Ubuntu?

DL: My husband introduced me to Ubuntu in the summer of 2010. Our school was still using Windows 2000 due to budget constraints. Since Windows 2000 was losing support that summer, we were looking for a replacement. My husband showed me Ubuntu during our camping trip to South Padre Island, and I fell in love with the operating system, so we made the decision to convert the whole school that summer.

EM: How do you use Ubuntu in your daily routine? Work or recreational or both?

DL: Both. After I converted the school, we also converted our home.

I use Ubuntu exclusively in our home. At school, I have approx 120 laptop/desktop computers running Ubuntu. I have two labs, and the rest are teacher and classroom machines.

I have also donated laptop computers installed with Ubuntu to missionaries in Kenya. There were a couple of missionaries who came to the U.S. for a visit at our church. I spent a whole dinner telling them about Ubuntu and how successful it is at our school. I sent an Ubuntu laptop home with them so they could play with the operating system and see if it would work in their schools. After introducing them to Ubuntu, they continue to use it in their missionary schools there locally. I continue to send more laptops with Ubuntu to them as they become available through

EM: You recently shared your success about the Longmont Christian School transition to Ubuntu with the Colorado Ubuntu Team, can you share your success with the community?

DL: I started teaching application software in the high school at Longmont Christian School in 2000 with 12 computers throughout the school (nine being in my lab) with a dial-up connection. The next year, we networked the school and doubled the amount of computers. By 2009 we were up to 63 computers running Windows 2000. In 2010, I wrote a proposal and presented our desire to change to Ubuntu to the principal of the school. After gaining his approval, I imaged all of the computers in the school with Ubuntu 10.04, wrote training material for the teachers, and sent an email out to notify the teachers of the upcoming changes and training dates. The week before school started, I trained all of the teachers and staff on Ubuntu and boldly started the year on the new platform.

I was truly amazed at how smoothly it went for such a large change. The teachers embraced the new operating system and continue to enjoy using it today. Through the years, I brought what I was teaching in the high school down to middle school and then elementary. I truly believe that what we have at Longmont Christian School is pretty awesome!

I have 26 teachers, most were technology challenged and fearful, but they all love using Ubuntu and are doing so well. I have over 120 laptops/desktops dispersed
throughout the school all installed with Ubuntu. I would love to get the word out to Canonical and Boulder County to spread the word even farther on how Ubuntu is a
great solution.

EM: What influenced you to take on such a large project? What’s the most rewarding aspect of the Longmont Christian School project?

DL: The school was using Windows 2000 and the support was up in the summer of 2010. We needed to upgrade our operating system, but the school was very budget constrained, so, with my husband’s encouragement, we looked into Ubuntu. The rest is history.

The most rewarding aspect for me is how smooth the transition happened at our school and how easily the teachers adopted the new operating system. I am even able to support teacher curriculum through Wine in Ubuntu.

EM: If you could influence every school in the country to transition their computer labs to run Ubuntu, what would be your #1 reason to convince them?

DL: It is easy to use and maintain. I have found that my support hours were reduced once I switched the school from Windows to Ubuntu. It is very well packaged and is pretty easy to maintain.

If I could have a #2, the second would be cost. I use donated hardware with a zero cost operating system and zero cost software. For a small, private school, this goes a long way to reduce overall cost of the school and helps lower tuition for the parents.

EM: What do you hope to achieve in the future in your efforts to promote Ubuntu?

DL: This summer I am planning on providing free training in Ubuntu for our parents.

EM: What other Ubuntu projects/groups are you involved with?

DL: I supported the Ubuntu lab at a TIE (Technology in Education) conference in 2011. I recently became involved with the Colorado Ubuntu Users Group as well.

For people looking to get involved in Ubuntu, who aren’t interested in learning how to code, what advice can you give to help them get started?

My advice is to share their Ubuntu successes with people around them—to help spread Ubuntu to a larger community.

EM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

DL: Once I started using Ubuntu, I fell in love with it. It is my desire to continue to work with and to promote Ubuntu.

Originally posted by Emma Marshall in Full Circle Magazine Issue #74 on June 28, 2013

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One Response to “Interview with Diane Leikvold”

  1. Adam Says:

    Excellent stuff. Glad to see that someone in a school environment has found Ubuntu so useful. If only it could be the same in our school, but we’re kinda too rich and we get new PCs every 2 years :/ so much for Academy Status.

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