I will be giving a talk tomorrow at FOSSASIA 2014 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia about my work in Open Education. The talk (entitled “Let’s Raise Kids Up”) will be part of the opening keynotes. It will give a quick introduction of the Greenboard project and all the works done around Beijing since 2007. I will also be joining the panel discussion about Women in IT together with Hong Phuc Dang (FOSSASIA), Cat Allman (Google), Sindhu Sundar (GNOME), Sneha Priscilla Makini (GNU Mailman) and Richa Jain (Mediawiki).
If anybody is interested in deploying free and open source projects in schools, I am running a workshop on 1st March (10am) too. I will present all the tips we discovered the hard way from running our own open education project ranging from hardware donation, curriculum design to using Free Software and customizing or translating the possible solution. It will of course talk about GNU/Linux, some of the GNOME and KDE educational applications we are using as well as putting it all together and allowing teachers to control the classroom.
Thanks for Mario Behling and Hong Phuc for hosting such a great event! And of course thanks for FOSSASIA sponsoring my trip to participate!
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Thanks to Education Freedom Day, we started a conversation with a local NGO here in Shantou, Teach For China which is non-profit working on Chinese education inequity and founded in 2008. They are currently looking at developing some e-learning solutions with the schools they are involved with this year and we have been invited to present Greenboard during their mid-year professional development conference. The conference is happening this weekend (22/33 February) in Shantou, China and we will most likely spend the whole Sunday discussing with their fellows. As we already had a pre-meeting last weekend we feel there are a lot of things which could be used from the work we did in the Beijing area and we are looking forward to share our experience on the matter. Hopefully, we’ll have more to tell soon!
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For its second edition Hardware Freedom Day will be celebrated on March 15th (Saturday) this year. The HFD 2014 registration has been launched about a month ago and the map of currently registered event is available here! This day’s purpose is to get your area familiar with your work and get them interested to join and participate. Should you be a hackerspace or simply a FLOSS user group without a space but with motivation and projects it’s a great opportunity to make the extra effort and get more people to know about what you’re doing.
For registration, simply create a wiki page and fill up this form. Please also make the event shine by using our HFD countdown and banners.
If you want to get some insights for your HFD events, we have had a few ideas submitted to the mailing list to enhance the celebration and we definitely need to see how those can be implemented. In the meantime, get your team ready, your hackerspace (or not) in order and celebrate HFD with us!
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As Education Freedom Day is just around the corner I would like to highlight a few of the possibilities of participations during that day. I am indeed very happy to see projects contributors getting involved and I would like to highlight the Open Book Project lead by Jeffrey Elkner, Kevin Cole and a few others running their own event in Washington, DC. The Open Book Project has for us some special significance as I am also involved in Free Software advocacy and running educational groups which cover how to program at a young age. Definitely learning to code early enough is a good thing for every one as it teaches you the fundamentals of problem solving and logic. I have been using software such as RUR-PLE myself (part of the GNOME Education Suite) but the Open Book Project goes further and provides all kinds of books, tutorials and courses around the Information & Communication Technology with quite an extensive part on Python itself, split well enough not to bore the kids (or at least that is how I feel). Jeffrey Elkner is also involved in the Guido van Robot programming language which is very similar to the RUR-PLE I love. So why do I care about Python in education would you ask? Well that is probably because the language is simple and close enough to the English language and allows you to do wonders at the same time. So rather than learning something that is only useful within its educational context, why not make the slight extra effort to learn something that is also used by real developers? And it is all Free Software!
Of course those materials are usable by either teachers, students or self-learners and EFD will be a day where you can either join the team in Washington DC or get in touch with them and see how you could contribute without being on site.
Yet another day and another project needing some love on Education Freedom Day: the Open Education Handbook! Started in September 2013 and initiated by the Open Education Working Group from the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Open Education Handbook initially intended to cover Open Data use in education but has quickly evolved into a document extending to the different aspects of open education, such as resources, data and culture and how those fit together. While it is currently the second version, the targeted final release is for October 2014.
So on Education Freedom Day, the people from Campinas in Brazil, together with interested participants either locally or remotely, will work on a Portuguese translation of the Open Education Handbook. Note that the event is actually happening on Monday 20 January and should you not live in the area feel free to contact them through our Portuguese mailing list. Of course if you are more generally interested in contributing to the Open Education Handbook then looking at the Open Education Working Group mailing list is probably a good way to start.
Education Freedom Day is happening in many other places and can be a very good way to get involved in Free Educational Resources building or advocacy. In the coming days I will highlight other projects as well. Stay tuned!
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Digital Freedom Foundation is at it again as we announced last August and we are finally launching our new celebration around Free Educational Resources called Education Freedom Day. The day selected is January 18th 2014 (Saturday) which we believe to be mid school year and a good time to evaluate what has been done and to look at what else could be added. We really hope this can provide a great introduction to educators, professors, teachers and anybody else involved in the education industry about what Free Educational Resources (FER) is, its benefits and how vibrant your local community is.
In the meantime, we are getting more involved with Polytechnic University in Hong Kong thanks to Graham and started to work on our EFD event in Hong Kong. We plan to cover Free and Open Source Software, Hardware and Content for educational purposes by introducing Arduino, Raspberry Pi, GNOME educational software (e.g. Rur-ple & GCompris) and of course some great international and local Free Educational projects.
Please help us to promote EFD by using our EFD countdown and banners. If you have contacts with either your local schools, colleges, universities or some open education projects please visit the EFD wiki, create your event page and register your event! If you have any question, please join and ask our EFD mailing list or IRC channel #efday @ Freenode.
Happy Education Freedom Day!
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