Upcoming Greenboard deployment

fossasia-group-sOver the past few months we have been busy introducing the Greenboard project in a few places, namely at Teach for China in Shantou and at FOSSASIA in Phnom Penh to name just two places. Both have been very interested in the concept, its flexibility, past deployments and more importantly using it within their environment.

greenboard-teamWe are now working on refurbishing a classroom of sixty computers in a school not too far from Shantou, classroom which was installed ten years ago and has never ever been used. Of course not all the machines start (in fact only 15 out of 60) but the room is properly set up and looks like a very nice place to start in the region. The people we are working with from Teach for China are very motivated as well which brings a lot to the equation.

usaidOn the Cambodian side, the discussions we had with USAID and the representative from the Ministry of Education were very positive too. We will have further discussions during April and need to start checking the translation status of all the components we use. Luckily the person in charge of packaging Greenboard happens to be Cambodian too!

All in all we are pretty excited about what’s coming ahead of us and will work hard to make it happen. Stay connected to learn more as the projects move forward!

Speaking at FOSSASIA 2014 tomorrow!

fossasiaI 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!

Introducing Greenboard to Teach For China

greenboard-bannerThanks 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!

DFF going into Open Education

greenboard-bannerBeing part of the Digital Freedom Foundation, I would like to share with you some good news!

DFF is announcing its inclusion of the Greenboard project, an Open Education project started in China and focusing on adding FOSS equipped computers to primary schools as a tool to their current curriculum. With years of experience pushing Free Software and OER in poor schools the DFF board has acquired great knowledge of the challenges associated with OER in general and specific educational constraints in particular, assets it is taking to promote around the world.

The first phase will be to publicize all its content into English so it is easily transferable to other places in the world with minimum efforts. Once this is done we will then be able to improve and develop more content while eventually starting to localize our resources to specific regions where opportunities arise.

Our current three international days celebrating and promoting Free Software, Free Culture and Open Hardware will be completed by a fourth day to enhance our efforts as well as bring light to the already existing hundreds of similar projects that the world counts today. The first instance of Education Freedom Day will be on January 18th, 2014.

Speaking at OpenSym + WikiSym 2013


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!