Education

A guide to teaching FOSS: teachers as learners

teachers as learners

Knowing everything about any open source project is impossible. If you're going to deal with a large community, you're not going to know all the details. This is unlike teaching courses where everything is black-and-white, and there are plenty of reference texts. If you're going to teach open source, you're going to have to change the way you teach. Rather than a lecturer, you're a mentor.

» Read more

5 Comments

A year of Linux desktop at Westcliff High School

Linux in schools

Around a year ago, a school in the southeast of England, Westcliff High School for Girls Academy (WHSG), began switching its student-facing computers to Linux, with KDE providing the desktop software. The school's Network Manager, Malcolm Moore, contacted us at the time. Now, a year on, he got in touch again to let us know how he and the students find life in a world without Windows. » Read more

45 Comments

The selling of Open Educational Resources (OER)

open education resources

As a self-professed metadata geek, I’ve recently been participating in an online discussion about metadata and the Learning Registry. I have to say, it feels as if I’m on a merry-go-round that won’t stop, because for the past 10 years I’ve engaged in dozens if not hundreds of conversations about the use of OER (open education resources) metadata concerning these same issues: Do we need it? How should it be licensed? Who owns it?

» Read more

3 Comments

An elevator pitch for open source

open source and education discussion

Every year I attend the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference as an exhibitor. This year's conference was busier than any I've ever been to. So many people had either heard of us (ByWater Solutions) or Koha or just about open source in general. One librarian though approached our booth with caution. She informed me that she was told to come see what we were about by a manager but that she was very nervous. What she actually said was, "Open source scares me."

» Read more

4 Comments

UC Irvine's new OpenChem project

open source your university

I recently spoke with Larry Cooperman, director of OpenCourseWare at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Larry also serves on the boards of the OpenCourseWare Consortium and the African Virtual University. I asked Larry about UC Irvine’s new OpenChem project.

» Read more

0 Comments

Students map their university campus with MapKnitter

open campus

In the fall of 2010, I asked the biology class I teach at Western Carolina University for volunteers to help map the campus. Three years later, dozens of students have participated in learning how to use aerial photography and cartography techniques created by Public Lab.

» Read more

4 Comments

The no-excuses guide to introducing yourself to a new open source project

open source projects

Getting started in an unfamiliar open source project seems intimidating because it is intimidating; plunging into the unknown usually is. Navigating new territory is a lot easier with a guide—which is why I recently taught a seminar at Hacker School on "getting started contributing to open source" that mostly amounted to "first, find a mentor." The basic steps are:

» Read more

4 Comments

Open Course Library's best resource: introductory college course materials

open education resources

Open Course Library has now released 81 high quality, free-to-use courses to the public. Users are can adapt and distribute content under a  Creative Commons license and download, remix, or teach using them. All content is stored in Google docs making it easy to access, browse, and download.

5 Comments

Market pressure builds to provide alternatives to costly textbooks

open education resources

A report issued by the United States Government Accountability Office on June 6 confirms a trend of the educational publishing industry: textbook costs to students at higher education institutions are rising 6% per year on average, and have risen 82% over the last decade. The study, ordered by Congress, looks at the efforts of publishers and colleges to increase the availability of textbook price information and "unbundled" buying options as required under provisions in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA). The GAO also interviewed faculty regarding benefits of this transparency and offering of new options for students purchasing course materials.

6 Comments

Maker Machine sends open source robots to school

Robots deliver apples to teachers at school

Maker Machine is a mobile makerspace that brings 3D printers, DIY robotics, and interactive art to primary schools, libraries, museums and youth clubs. The project is currently fundraising for a tour of Australia to bring our workshop to schools around the country.

Started by myself and Sam Nikolsky, two Melbourne Industrial Designers, Maker Machine transforms the traditional classroom into a high tech workshop.

1 Comment