teaching

5 key insights on the transition from Windows to Linux

Linux system administration

When I began my current job at Algoma University as the systems librarian, I really had no idea what I was getting into. Despite a decade in library information technology (IT), I felt nervous over my primary task: to help develop and administer Evergreen, an open source library catalogue system. The problem? My experience was almost totally in the world of Windows. » Read more

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How times have changed for PostgreSQL

open innovation

When I started teaching PostgreSQL education courses in 2001, PostgreSQL was the ugly one in the data center. Many of the people who were learning how to work with it were doing so grudgingly because of some specific requirement. They had inherited a PostgreSQL database, for example. As a result, many of them tried to learn just enough to do what they needed to do. The other population of students were serious technologists, die-hard open source devotees who wanted to use only open source solutions and were learning PostgreSQL because they needed a relational database for their operations.

» Read more

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Four projects for parents to teach their kids about open hardware and electronics

open hardware and eletronics for kids

Kids are quick learners and have great imaginations. When pursuing an electronic or hardware project with a kid, the most important thing to keep in mind is: keep things playful. As long as their hands are in gunk and they are taking things apart, or there's the possibility of blowing something up, kids will stay interested. As soon as the activity starts to seem like work, they switch off.

Here are four fun and easy projects for teaching kids more about electronics and hardware in a couple hours or an afternoon. Then, they may be on to the Arduino board or Raspberry Pi before you know it! Note: For kids between 4 - 8 years old, more adult supervision may be required.

First, I'll share with you three excellent businesses where you can purchase open hardware tools, kits, and electronics for these projects and more. » Read more

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How computer science teachers can better reach their students

open source learning

Mr. James Allen

Imagine being a high school freshman walking down the halls of your new school on the very first day. You somehow make it to first period without becoming epically lost in the unfamiliar halls. Finally, the bell rings, signaling that you've officially made it through your first high school class. Taking a look at your schedule, you see your next class is Exploring Computer Science. You think: "Wow, computers! This should be fun!"

For me, this idea and feeling of fun didn't end of that first day. It continued throughout the year as a student of Mr. Allen's Exploring Computer Science class.

I first met Mr. James Allen at an Akron Linux User Group meetup this past summer. He had learned that a future student of his (me) was presenting on Scratch and the Raspberry Pi and took the time to see my presentation (about an hour drive!). That's a dedicated teacher. That's Mr. Allen. » Read more

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Best of Opensource.com: Top guides for getting things done the open source way

Guides and tutorials from Opensource.com

This year at Opensource.com, we challenged our contributors to give us the best and most useful guides, how-tos, and tutorials they could produce from their experiences and work in various open source industries and sectors. In this Best of Opensource.com, our top guides and tutorials this year fell within the four buckets you see below.

If you can answer YES to any of the following questions, there's an open source way guide here for you!

Do you... » Read more

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Teaching with open source presentation service Reveal.js

teaching with open source

Opensource.com has a community moderator program, and I am proud to be a part of it. Recently we all met in person with the Opensource.com team in downtown Raleigh, NC at Red Hat Tower. One of our discussions centered around open source software for education, and Ruth Suehle, who leads Fedora's marketing team as well as writes for and advises Opensource.com, pointed out the wonders of Reveal.js, a new tool for preparing slide presentations.

"It's what the cool kids are using," she said. And, boy was she right!

A quick visit to the example presentations page is enough to persuade any skeptic. » Read more

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Why children should learn to code, even if they don't have a future in IT

Teaching your children open source skills

By day, Red Hat product manager Burr Sutter works to make developers more successful and productive with open source tools, technologies, and techniques. So it's no surprise that he wants to ensure his own children know how to solve technical problems as well. So when summer vacation rolled around this year, Sutter encouraged his son to complete some courses on CodeAcademy and to sign up for a couple of iD Tech Camps.

In this interview, Sutter talks about why he wants his children to know how to fix the tech tools they use every day, how he balances that with other "kid" activities, and more. Parents who are looking for a way to get their children to learn code, to fix their computers, or just learn how online communities work may pick up some tips from Sutter's experiences. » Read more

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University course trades textbook for Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi used at SUNY Albany

The Raspberry Pi has replaced the textbook at the State University of New York at Albany in the class, Information in the 21st Century.

Ethan Sprissler is the instructor for the 900 student class (split into two sections, 400 and 500 students respectively). He uses the Raspberry Pi instead of the traditional textbook in order to: » Read more

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Growing the next generation of open source hackers

favoring open source

As a parent of three (children aged: 10, 7, and 5), I'm eager to share with my kids the values that attracted me to open source and the hacker ethos: sharing and building great things together, taking control of your environment, and embracing technology as a means of expression, rather than as media to be consumed. In other words: » Read more

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Representing women in STEAM and open source

academia is evolutionary

The latest talk in education circles is moving from a STEM-based method of teaching (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to a STEAM-based one (science, technology, art, and mathematics). This involves using an inquiry-based approach or a project-based approach to learning through the immersion in the arts. How this helps open source and women in particular is a bone of contention for some. One would think that a focus on art would help propel female art students into pioneering territory with a focus on STEAM, however, the results seem mixed for women. » Read more

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