Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another open source school

Here's a great story: The Open High School of Utah. Not only do they using open source software, they also use open courseware. All of their courses are released as Moodle packages under a creative commons licence at the end of each year, covering both sides of the free tools and free content equation. One of the drivers behind this project is David Wiley whose TEDx talk is inspirational. One of the teachers at this school says "I can't imagine going back to copyrighted material after using open source". I know what she means.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Free software for kids

I've just been talking to an educator in the United States about free software for younger primary/elementary aged students. I fired off this list of projects that others might find useful:
  • A project to develop free software for younger children. Office suite, paint programme, learning the alphabet, quizzes and games, story writing and animations etc.
  • Sugar is the operating system that has emerged out of Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child program. It's free software and runs really well on old/low spec computers. Two notable things about it: i) a graphical operating system designed around the needs of young learners and learners with low levels of literacy (you can learn the fundamentals of computer programming without being able to read for instance), and ii) the applications are called 'activities' and are designed for students to play with. There is a huge range of software available.
  • A version of Ubuntu aimed specifically for schools.
  • Open Office for kids.