leenas blog


Microsoft goes kindergarten

Filed under: English — lsimon @ 4:58 pm

I just visited a german kindergarten that has a concept to educate young children in computer skills.
On the one hand I was very happy to see how both, boys and girls, learn how to work with computers and are tutored by women (which is good for the gender aspect). On the other hand I watched these children work with Microsoft software and being instructed how to work with Windows.
Sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Families and in cooperation with the Cornelsen Verlag, a big publishing house for schoolbooks, Microsoft places its software called Schlaumäuse directly into german kindergartens.
The kindergarten teachers are very happy about this program because it really gives them a good peace of software that they can easily work with. (I have to confess: in comparison to other Microsoft products it is really good.) The program comes for free (only for kindergartens, of course) with a good manual and a monthly magazine and there is also merch available like stickers and stuffed animals.
It is good work of advertisement and it is no wonder, that kindergarten teachers appreciate the offer. Especially since they are not aware, that there are already free alternatives available.
Still the Schlaumäuse are quite good work. They are orientated towards linguistic support and autonomy without overburdening the children. A lot of different games have been put together in one environment and if you earned enough cheese-points within the learning-games your award is to play the most fun game (basically an easier version of pacman).
The kindergarten teacher I spoke to was very pleased with the program. But she was also very interested in Free Software and in my objection that this is very early advertisement on the most subtle level. Still I was not able to recommend her an equivalent free alternative.
I’ve already tried some software like Kturtle and Sugar and other small applications but non of those offered such a fully-fledged learning platform like Schlaumäuse.
We definitely need something that offers a full learning platform and comes with a good handbook and leaflets etc.
Otherwise Microsoft will succeed advertising its products in the very early years of our children.
Our challenge is now to compete with this and to bring our alternative to the kindergartens and primary schools.
I would do the latter, who is in for the first?


FSFE invites german citizens to ask their deputies about Free Software

Filed under: English — Tags: — lsimon @ 5:59 pm

FSFE (and especially I) started a little campaign to bug our deputies a little in the final stage on the hustings. On the Fellowship-Wiki we invite german citizens to write to their deputies with the help of Abgeordnetenwatch and ask questions about Free Software.
The Idea is, that the deputies not only get aware, that people have an interest in supporting Free Software, they also have to learn a little about Free Software if they want to be able to answer propperly. Or maybe they hear about that for the first time and have to look it up at Wikipedia.
However, our deputies are not often so keen to show that they are listening to the citizens and care about their interests. So we should really take the opportunity to get noticed and all ask about Free Software. The more people join, the bigger effect we’ll have.
Visit the Fellowship-Wiki to take part and get informed about what our deputies have to say about Free Software!


My internship at FSFE

Filed under: English — lsimon @ 3:34 pm

Starting with this week I am doing an internship at Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) working in the berlin group of the german team.
My first project is about the german elections 2009 and what our fellow politicians think about Free Software.
I am also planing a wokrshop with the topic “Women and (Free) Software”. I am happy about suggestions.
I can be found at Identica now.
As can the FSFE by the way.
The bureau is a little improvised at the moment: Internet only workes with UMTS, during rain it doesn’t work at all. There’s wires all over the place and through the rooms and the chairs are not very comfy.
We expect the furniture, DSL and a waterboiler to arrive next week. Hooray!
The best is that I can use my own computer and I really like the atmosphere within the team.

Here are some pictures. Enjoy!








Watch: “Home”

Filed under: English — lsimon @ 11:43 am

I strongly recommend to watch the documentary “Home” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Really really good work.

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