One week to Education Freedom Day

OBPlogoAs 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.

openhandbookYet 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.

Celebrate EFD with us on January 18, 2014!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!

Education Freedom Day celebrations 18 January 2014

EFDDigital 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,ย 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.ย 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!
Celebrate EFD with us on January 18, 2014!

Speaking at OpenSym + WikiSym 2013

opensym2013

During my last visit in Hong Kong I met a few of my usual friends and about 2 weeks later received an invitation to speak at the OpenSym + WikiSym 2013 which will be hosted in Hong Kong from 5 to 8 August 2013. Of course I’d thank Haggen for passing the message and the team behind the conference for the invitation.

I have decided to present my work with Open Education which happens to match the conference rather well (I was told), and will therefore summarize what has been done around Beijing since about 2006. The interesting part is that this project (named greenboard) covers a lot of different pieces ranging from hardware donation, curriculum design, 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. Since there will be researchers and communities flying from all over the world to participate for the event, I look forward to receiving good insights, get further ideas to improve what we have done so far and why not, expand to new territories.

As a side note the conference call for talks is still open, the submission deadline being on May 17, 2013. So feel free to either come and talk about something interesting or just drop by and say hi in early August if you are in town!

SFD preparation meeting@STU Linux Association

After moving to Southern China, we have been attempting to meet with local FOSS communities. Finally we got to visit the Shantou University (STU) and talk to the core members of Linux Association, one of the winners ofย  Software Freedom Day Innovative event award 2009 from sfdchina.org.

Since its establishment in 2005, STU Linux Association has been hosting regular meeting on a weekly basis (except holidays and exam period). They strive to introduce members of different FOSS applications and give technical lessons that their core members are familiar with. They even have members dedicating to help students with difficulty in installing Linux.

It was a great pleasure to meet with all of them due to their enthusiasm towards FOSS. Some of them have been the core members for 4 years, that’s usually not the case in other universities I’ve met. This year they are planning for a double capacity SFD event. Fred and I promised to support them with more goodies and be the SFD speakers. We are looking forward to celebrate SFD with Shantou University and wish everybody Happy Software Freedom Day!

Hello Planet GNOME

As a new poster on Planet GNOME I suppose presentations are in order: my main contributions to GNOME are to try to grow the Asian community and I do this by taking part in the GNOME.Asia Summit organization since its inception in 2008 in Beijing. Last year I actually even gave some talks at the Vietnamese chapter in Ho Chi Minh. Together with my friend Emily Chen we also started a GNOME User Group in Beijing after the first Summit end of 2008 and we do a lot of advocacy to get young Chinese students to take over some Gnome projects.

We’re actually in the middle of the call for host for the 2010 edition and you can find my post about the topic right here. So if anyone in Asia is interested to take up the challenge and be the lead organizer of a great Open Source technical conference showcasing GNOME technologies this is the chance. Note that the whole GNOME.Asia Summit committee will be behind you and we’re now strong of two successful years experience. So please do help spread the word.

I am also part of the localization team of a few GNOME projects especially the educational ones like GComrpis and Rur-ple. I spent a lot of time building a total FOSS solution for schools that included the OS with different educational apps for teaching and learning, tutorials for teachers, training and textbook for students. Of course we use a lot of GNOME and GNOME apps in the solution.

And when not doing GNOME things, I actually also happen to be the President of the (famous!) Beijing LUG (should you be in town please do contact me), on the board of Software Freedom International and very much involved with women in technology and students open source groups.

I hope that by now you have a better idea of who I am and should you have any idea on how to strengthen the Asian GNOME community please do get in touch. Also feel free to browse my previous post to get a better idea of the other things I’m involved with.