Open education: A diamond in the rough

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Here we are again—the dawn of a new year is upon us. I really can't believe it. It is me or do the years seem to go by faster and faster?

Before we close this chapter, let’s take a quick look at the ten most popular articles from in education for 2012, starting with number ten and counting down.

10. Infographic: The higher education bubble, Part one, Mary Ann Bitter

9. California passes groundbreaking open textbook legislation, Timothy Vollmer

8. Designing aesthetically pleasing Moodle courses,

7. Lego could have encouraged STEM education for girls--but launched the Friends line instead, Ruth Suehle

6. Unschooling is the open source way, Carolyn Fox

5. Hampshire College distributes free software bundle to all incoming students, Kira
4. My Raspberry Pi experience with Debian-based Linux distribution Occidentalis, Matt Jadud

3. Scratch, a programming language for kids, Phil Shapiro

2. The day TuxPaint became contagious, Phil Shapiro

1. Typing at 255 WPM shouldn't cost $4000: Plover, the open source steno system, Mel Chua

I always like to highlight a favorite memory of mine from the year at, but this year I am going to switch it up a little.

Personally, 2012 was a unique year for me. I spent the first half of the year going through chemotherapy. (Don't fret. I have my health back!) Recently many people have said to me, "I bet you are glad to see this year go." But, the truth is, I would say 2012 has been an empowering year, a year that has made me so grateful for my amazing husband and family, my friends, my team of doctors, healthcare, my Red Hat family, science, and of course technology.

Yes, there were some tough moments, but there were also a lot of really great moments. I saw the people I love the most, more often. I focused on the things that matter. And I remembered how fragile and wonderful life is. I can truthfully say that there were more great moments than rough ones.

As this insight relates to education, there have too been more great moments than rough ones. And I encourage all teachers, students, and parents to continue striving for solutions that include open access and open source software.

So, as we head into 2013, I'd like to do a virtual "toast" to all the diamonds in the rough. Best wishes in 2013! (And, as always, please let the team know if you have ideas or feedback for this education community. Our ears are always open.)

Mary Ann Bitter is a Creative Strategist for Red Hat's Marketing Communications & Design team. She lives at the intersection of business and design and believes the open source values have never been more relevant than they are today.  She is passionate about problem solving and working with people who give a damn.

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