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Teaching the open source way: An interview with Sameer Verma

An interview with Sameer Verma

Dr. Sameer Verma first learned about open source software when a college friend gave him a weekend crash course in Linux. Now a professor of information systems in the College of Business at San Francisco State University, Verma has taken those lessons to heart—and is teaching his own students the open source way.

Recently, we talked with Verma about the challenge of open source pedagogy, about integrating open source technologies and values into the college classroom, about the benefits of learning open source project management, and about his work with One Laptop Per Child. » Read more

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Nepal and the impact of open source

Nepal and the impact of open source

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with many gender, educational, and digital divides. Yet it is gradually being transformed by open source and digital technology. There's little question that as Nepal seeks to help its citizens become a part of the global digital economy, it faces a series of challenges: political instability, remote physical access, poor infrastructure, and rural poverty. In April 2012, the World Economic Forum released a report that identified Nepal as one of the least networked countries in the world, at the bottom of world rankings. » Read more

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Can Apple change education?

Can Apple change education?

On January 19, Apple held a large, education-related event on in New York City. Just as with almost any other Apple event, pre-event speculations were all over the place. It was clear that the announcement was going to target the textbook market, but what wasn't clear was its scope. As AllThingsD's Peter Kafka wrote: "the key thing to watch at the Guggenheim is whether Cue brings up reps from the big textbook publishers like Pearson and McGraw-Hill onstage, or whether the focus is on letting educators and others build their own books, so they can bypass both the publishers and the antiquated textbook procurement system." » Read more

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How open source tools can create balanced learning environments

"Free," "open" and "libre" software has been a buzzword in media and technology spheres alike. A lot of heat surrounds its implementation, especially in developing countries. While there is much confusion concerning how open source can be used to leverage the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT) and its impact on the areas of implementation, there is one definite sector where open source can be guaranteed to produce magnificent results when properly used. » Read more

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OVC evolution, a snapshot of a student HFOSS work-in-progress

Three Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) students recently gained recognition for a Humanitarian Free and Open Source (HFOSS) proof-of-concept project, Open Video Chat (OVC).  OVC put a functional video chat program written designed for deaf students on to the OLPC XO 1.5 computer. This is the story of how it got started and where it can go from here. » Read more

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Looking forward to a sweet new year selling open source

Two years ago, I blundered into open source because I wanted my students to build educational games for the One Laptop Per Child community. Much of that history has already been told by opensource.com. I didn't expect this effort to be so sticky--for myself or my students--when we started. » Read more

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Project Cauã: Jon "maddog" Hall on creating a sustainable network of entrepreneurs from system administrators in Brazil

I've been hearing Jon "maddog" Hall talk about Project Cauã for a while now, and I've seen mention of it here and there. But his Ohio LinuxFest keynote, "Project Cauã: Creating Sustainable Computing Jobs in the Developing World," was the first time I got to hear a full description of the plan. In case you haven't had a chance to read about it either, here's the plan he outlined. » Read more

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OLPC and FOSS@RIT--Education innovation the open source way

The Rochester Institute of Technology is a technical university offering undergraduate and post-graduate programs including co-ops, internships, study abroad, and research opportunities to more than 16,000 students in Rochester, NY. One of RIT’s research and educational outreach efforts is the Laboratory for Technological Literacy, a group that focuses on issues of technology and information distribution. » Read more

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Introducing Open Source to A Middle School

There are so many compelling reasons for children to use open source. If they develop skills and a body of work using open source software, it can follow them through high school, college, and even into the professional world. It won't cost them or their school any license fees. Using the open formats promoted by free & open source software, their writings and projects will stay accessible, avoiding bitrot. » Read more

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Five questions about building community with Chris Blizzard of Mozilla

I've always been a fan of the Mozilla Foundation, and not just because of the Firefox web browser. As catalyst for some of the great communities in the open source world, Mozilla is something of a recipe factory for what to do right when it comes to building community. As it turns out, Mozilla's Director of Developer Relations, Chris Blizzard, is a long time friend of mine. » Read more

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