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Free Software in Education – March/April 2011

Here is again a list of things I came across over the last two months:

There is an article on techlearning.com (warning: terrible commercial blocker!) which answers 8 claims that are often brought agains Free Software solutions in education:

  1. Open source is way too expensive. We can’t afford to change everything!
  2. Our teachers won’t use open-source software. They are accustomed to the products they already use.
  3. There’s no tech support for open source.
  4. The tech department will have to learn a new way of doing things.
  5. Open-source products aren’t as good as their mainstream counterparts.
  6. But no one uses Open–Office! Our students and teachers will learn useless software.
  7. There aren’t any opensource administrative or management products.
  8. We’re about to launch a one-to-one program. We can’t do that and go with open source.

Aleix Pol reported on the kde-edu list, that “Flávio Moringa, from the project that deployed KDE in Portugal schools (…) sent him the usability reports they prepared to see what’s needed to deploy properly KDE in education environments for young children”  The report in Portuguese is being translated into English so that they can take actions to improve the KDE-edu suite. A really nice approach!

The Gleducar project published a comic about Free Software (totally made using FS tools). It’s available in Spanish, French and English. More translations are welcome.

Update: the comic is available in Portugese, Croatian, Russian, and German as well! (Thanks to mdim for letting me know)

The Free Software University has being launched. The comments are also interesting.

Nice interview with Frederic Muller, president of Software Freedom International (Softwarefreedomday.org), about educating with Free Software.

There was another posting “Get OS into your classroom” by David Trask. I liked this part:

Then you hear, “If it’s free how can it be any good? I know–I’ve heard it too. I then ask, how many of you enjoy water? Air? Love? The best things in life are truly free.

It might be interesting for people teaching Free Software to have a look at the Libre Graphics Magazine. If your school or university wants to subscribe to it, even better!

René Mérou reported about a recently published Free Software catalogue (spanish).

Bulgaria

Varna Free University from Bulgaria joins the FTA

Finland

missed in February, but here it is: EduKemix – mind blowing approach on IT at schools.

France

We found out about a Master in Free Software that one can study in Caen, France.

Germany

A recently published study provides info about the current status of e-learning in Germany (pdf in German) and which stakeholders are pushing it.

Greece

The OpenFest 2011 took place on April 9+10. One theme was the “Implementation of open source in the education and public sectors”. There seems to be some movement in Greece lately.

Italy

Our Fellow Federico Bruni took the time to translate an interview to Raffaella Traniello, a “libre” video maker who uses Free Software to make video clips with kids in primary school. Really worth reading!

Poland

School curriculum to be modernised with courses on free software

Switzerland

In February, the State Councilor in charge of the Department of Education, Culture and Sport of the Canton of Geneva, Charles Beer, approved the Structural Plan for Media, Imaging and Information and Communication Technologies of the Department promoting the use of open standards in education.

Outside Europe:

US: Open Education 2011 – Call for proposals
Australia: ICT in the Australian Curriculum. A debate worth discussing in Europe, too.

Distros:

Edubuntu 11.04 Beta 2 Released. You can even try the latest release in your browser.

Upcoming events:

“The summit’s main objective is to strengthen the free educational
software developers community, with focus on Latin America and the
Sugar and OLPC communities. The event will feature discussions around
future directions and strategy, hacking on specific projects, and
exchange of experiences among different deployments.”

Every Uruguayan student uses an OLPC XO laptop running Sugar – that’s
half a million free software users ;-)

That’s about it for this time frame. I most likely drop the two months interval in the future and post less info more frequently. After all, this is a blog and not a magazine :) Please keep me informed if you come accross something that might fit in these edu postings!

3 comments to Free Software in Education – March/April 2011

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