Now that we have this amazing innovation called "The Internet" that provides practically unlimited resources to aspiring learners everywhere -- why is it that our actual educational systems don't seem to be getting any better?
Billions upon billions of dollars are spent globally to print textbooks that are often less accurate, and usually less compelling, than Wikipedia. Old but still serviceable computers are "surplused" (read: thrown out) by poor school districts because they don't run the latest version of some proprietary software program, even though there are almost always free equivalents to such software. Computers in schools, rather than being seen as enhancements to learning, are still frequently derided as inhibitors to learning -- and because they are so frequently misused, often rightly so. A whole generation of kids uses the Internet to teach other to play classical guitar pieces, while underperforming schools are forced to close their doors because they can't teach kids math. Educational institutions are increasingly bureaucratic, intensely politicized, and frustratingly slow to change.
Individual educators, as a rule, are hungry for change. Not the kind of change that gets forced down their throats, though: teachers are an independent lot, and they have enough people telling them what they ought to do, or what they have to do. Teachers fight every day to change the world, one person at a time, in thankless and sometimes even dangerous circumstances. They don't want endless policy debates, and they don't impractical "advice", and they don't want lectures. They want help.
We believe that the open source way can help -- and we've got a lot of experiences to share.
Open source software is obviously something we know well, so we will talk to the people who write open source educational software, and the people who use it. We will celebrate what works, and learn from what doesn't. Open content is becoming one of the most important issues in education, so we will hear from some of the leaders in the development of open educational resources. Governments are becoming increasingly aware of open source and open content, so we will follow these policy discussions -- and sometimes we'll even jump into them.
Lots to do. Let's get started.