Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Software Freedom Day - 08

I am on the SFI board that organises “Software Freedom Day”, a global event that supports local communities to celebrate and educate how Free Open Source Software can benefit people in their area. This year it is on September 20th.

FOSS fits well with the ideal 'Free and Open Education' by being able to give the learning tools to students so that they can use, share and build upon them. Collaboration and sharing fits well with this ideal and FOSS.

One of our objectives for 2008 is to better support schools to host Software Freedom Day events. For schools already making use of FOSS, it is a great way to help their community understand what and why they are doing this and to involve their FOSS communities in the process.

I would like to start some conversations about this so that we can better understand how to help schools participate and to share stories, resources and experience. If you want, you could put these ideas straight onto the SFD wiki



Friday, May 09, 2008

Schools give communities options

Reflecting on the parent teacher night last night I am filled with satisfaction. Having predominantly taught at year 11 and 12 levels, I was given a year 9 class this year. I was filled with fear at this and that fact that it was all boys. It is now the class that I would fight to keep. Their enthusiasm and curiosity fills me with joy.

Last night I explained to parents that the course is structured around various activities that last about a fortnight. The entire content is on my Moodle site (www.watiwara.org) and so there is flexibility for students to spend more time on topics of interest to them and dig deeper and to also work through topics of less interest quickly. I explained that I have chosen, in all cases, to use software that is free for students to take home and continue with their learning there.

Parents were thrilled with this and each had a story of something that their son had taken home and was almost obsessed with. In one case the student had hooked his mother into the activity and she spent time talking about how much she loved it.

One parent asked 'How does one find out about these things?' and then proceeded to answer her question with “I suppose that's why we go to school”. Schools have a responsibility to show students and our community options.