Education

Open education resources combat high textbook prices

Textbooks with a cost

Eben Upton is best known as the man behind the Raspberry Pi, a tiny, $25 computer designed to help turn kids into programmers. Upton priced it at $25 because he thought that's around what an average textbook cost: "I now understand that's an incorrect estimate. If we had a better idea of what school textbooks cost we would have had an easier job with the engineering over the years," he joked to Wired years later.

It's a funny story but also a sad story. Textbooks are expensive. More expensive than most non-students even realize. » Read more

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Teachers unite to influence computer manufacturing

Open education

Open source enthusiasts firmly believe that much is possible when people band together. After all, the core underpinning of open source doctrine is social. So I recently decided it's time that teachers band together to specify the computers we want manufacturers to make. Open source thinking gives me the boldness to think this is possible. » Read more

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Open source workshop explores FOSS in universities

Open source in education is key

The Association for Computing Machinery's annual meeting of their Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education is one of the largest academic computing meetings there is. This year's event featured a full-day workshop on teaching open source practices, tools, and techniques by engaging students as contributors to humanitarian projects such as Ushahidi, OpenMRS, Gnome Accessibility, and others. TitanPad was used for collaborative notetaking during the event, and this article is a result. You could call it a crowd-sourced article.

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University course teaches computer-human interaction with open hardware and OSS

open hardware class

Most people think of their interactions with computer systems to occur via a keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen. However, humans evolved to interact with thier environment and each other in much more intricate ways. Bridging the gap between the computational systems of the digital world and the natural world is being studied and tested in the Physical Computing course at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany.

As a professor of the course, we are currently leveraging a variety of open source software and hardware projects to learn about fundamental core concepts with hands-on experiences and implementation of open source tools. On the software side, we use an open-source IDE (Arduino Sketch) and develop 3D printer designs using OpenSCAD. On the open source hardware portion of the course, we utilize the Arduinos and the PrintrBot Simple. » Read more

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Open education author shares valuable tools for any operating system

open education resources

I first read about Chris Whittum in an article on Fosters.com. Once I read that he was interested in using open source software in education, I knew I had to learn more about him. After working in education, Chris decided to share his knowledge in an eBook called: Energize Education Through Open Source: Using Open Source Software to Enhance Learning. This resource focuses on how schools can use open source to continue to offer great lessons to students without the high price tag of similar proprietary products. » Read more

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Testing and tinkering with the Arduino Starter Pack

Arduino

Are you new to Arduino? Open hardware like the Arduino Starter Pack from Adafruit is a great way to start tinkering with this small computer board. It is the ideal kit for beginners to open hardware or anyone looking to start a project using the Arduino microcontroller.

To start, you need a computer from which you will write the code that will run in the Arduino board. This starter pack comes with an Arduino Uno board, which is likely the simplest. The typical programming cycle is to first write your code on the computer, then upload it to the Arduino board via a standard USB cable. The Arduino softwareis available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. » Read more

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Work on a free software project for a humanitarian cause

Professors in Open Source Software Experience - POSSE

What is Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) in education and how can we get more students involved? HFOSS is open source software that has a humanitarian purpose such as disaster management, health care, economic development, social services, and more. Experience with undergraduate participation in HFOSS shows it can both motivate students and provide excellent learning opportunities. There is also an indication that it can help attract and retain female students. » Read more

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Ellie the robot is ready to compete

open source robotics

Meet Ellie, a six week old robot weighing 100 lbs who can launch a two foot diameter exercise ball over 10 feet in the air! Ellie even has eyes: a webcam fitted to the front of her chassis that uses code written in Python running on a Raspberry Pi to process images. Ellie’s main code is written in Java and allows her mecanum wheels to drive, her claw to catch exercise balls, and her kicker to launch balls into the air. In just a few weeks Ellie will be competing along with more than 50 other robots in her first competition.

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Open source opening educational doors in Appalachia

Welcome to open education

Like other non-profit organizations, The Partnership for Appalachian Girls' Education (PAGE) faces funding challenges as it aims to achieve its mission of delivering innovative out-of-school learning opportunities for adolescent Appalachian girls. » Read more

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Introduction to Linux course now free, open to all

open education resources

Almost 25 years ago a young engineer started an operating system project "just for fun" to run on his own hardware. He opened it up to the world, and through a combination of good design and good luck, Linux was born. The Internet was the fundamental enabling technology of the large scale collaboration that produces Linux. The ability to cheaply and easily share files has created a system and community that has disrupted major industries, where Linux’ impact has been felt from super computing to mobile phones.

Higher education is facing a similarly disrupting force powered by the Internet—Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) make information available to anyone, anywhere, as long as they have a connection to the Internet. » Read more

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