with a very good feeling from the NL, where the first Open source for
Education in Europe conference took place.
I got my hands full of little goodies to bring home. I picked up a few TheOpenCDs to
bring home for Christmas, a Kubuntu
installation Cd, and brochures produced by OSS Watch, which is a Free
Open Source advisory service for UK higher and further education. Some
good advisory policies have been produced by OSS Watch, such as Developing
University Policies That Engage with Open Source Software, and Policy
on Open Source Software for JISC Projects and Services. You
can find Stuart
Yeates paper on this, I guess slides will be available later on the
Other interesting things that I had a chance to see:
- Of course, check out Stephen
Downes’ presentation about his vision
that he calls Metauniversity (he also called it Metaversity, I think
combining meta-level and diversity). Open Learning
and the Metauniversity , PPT Slides
and the MP3
Mr. Downes talked about a concept for an information architecture, that
could comply with the vision of M.Feldstein
“we need a system that is
optimeised toward slotting in new pieces as they become available, not
as an after-though or an add-on, but as a fundamental characteristic of
the system…”. Neat, many good concepts, maybe this will work as a roudmap to inspire people to see further than tomorrow.
- My talk about Anticipating
Round 2 of the EU Software patents battle took
place on the second day. Maybe one third of the audience was aware about the issue,
so I had been asked to be pretty introductory about what software
patents are, what is the current legislation in EU, and speculating how
software patents could potentially
hinder ICT in education. Slides will be available at the conference
site later. I made a great impression (?) on the audience by stripping my
jacket and showing off my "No Software Patents-Power to the Parliament"
tee-shirt You can view a picture of that and the other pictures from the conference at vermario’s gallery.
- tOSSad project was also interesting. It’s yet another EU-founded
project and the acronym stands for Towards Open source Software,
Adoption and Dissemination. That is what the project is about, really.
Check the site.
- About the presentations in workshops, I must say that I didn’t
follow many. However, some are worth checking out, like this one: Using
IMAP to Build a Virtual Learning Environment. It’s good that
people think out of the box!
- To get an overview about what some Educational authorities and
Ministries of Education are doing in Europe to promote the use of FOSS,
you can find a paper
by Karl Sarnow and me.
There were tons of other good stuff too, but you have to check it out
for yourselves on the programme.
Everything is available under Creative Commons and the conference used
this nifty Open Conference Systems
to make papers available online.
In general I got the impression that the conference audience was half
programmers and other half was comprised of people who have
interest in using FOSS in education. Quite a fruitful mix, and I hope
some other stuff will come out of this. At least the continuation for
the conference would be great!
Other than that a variety of things were recommended such as an award for the best open source educational
software, this would raise awareness and by submitting products
to the award, the community would also create a good state-of-the-art repertory.
Also, a Yearbook idea was
discussed listing most interesting FOSS in education projects in
different fields and areas.
The preemptive position paper against
EU software patents idea got good reception at the conference.
We had a workshop about how to get going and many good ideas were
discussed. The timeline to get the arguments ready is by Dec 15, and at
the new year we will start campaigning about getting signatures,
spreading the word, etc. The minutes will be available also soon, watch
Some other people have posted on their blogs about the conference,
- Coverage of the conference by Josie Fraser (one http://fraser.typepad.com/edtechuk/2005/11/sound_bites_fro.html,
- Graham Attwell
- Tom Hoffman http://tuttlesvc.teacherhosting.com/blog/blosxom.cgi/personal/holland.html,
- Vermario http://www.vermario.com/blog/?p=112,
- Brent Simpson http://blog.cfdl.auckland.ac.nz/archives/brent/000153.html,
- Stuart Yeateshttp://connect.educause.edu/blog/stuartyeates/open_source_in_education_conference/1583
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