[Linux-aus] [Osia-discuss] Re: Open Letter to the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
zachary at bizcubed.com.au
Sun Jul 6 12:44:13 EST 2008
If we are to adopt your proposals, who has to agree, and what are the next steps? I'm keen to participate.
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Ken Wilson" <kenwilso at ozemail.com.au>
To: "Sridhar Dhanapalan" <sridhar at dhanapalan.com>
Cc: "Donna Benjamin" <donna at cc.com.au>, "Linux Australia Mailing List" <linux-aus at linux.org.au>, "Open Source Industry Australia" <osia-discuss at lists.osia.net.au>, edu-sig at luv.asn.au, "Australian Linux Lobby In Edu Sector" <allies at lists.linux.org.au>, "Linux in Australian Schools" <lias at lists.linux.org.au>
Sent: Sunday, 6 July 2008 09:16:01 AM (GMT+1000) Australia/Sydney
Subject: Re: [Osia-discuss] Re: [Linux-aus] Open Letter to the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
Sridhar Dhanapalan wrote:
> On Wed, 2 Jul 2008 at 16:55, Donna Benjamin <donna at cc.com.au> wrote:
>> This was just sent to the Deputy PM, Treasurer, Minister for finance and
>> Senator Kate Lundy and was also CC'd to senior members of the Digital
>> Education Revolution taskforce.
>> Open Letter to Deputy Prime Minister calling for consideration of Free
>> and Open Source Software in implementation of the Digital Education
>> Revolution Policy for the National Secondary School Computer Fund.
> Great work, Donna!
> (I'm a signatory but Donna deserves much of the credit)
> So the question arises: what next? We should have a plan to follow this up, or
> else the momentum will be lost.
> My suggestion is for us to build a Web site focused on open education in
> Australia. We already have the perfect vehicle: http://openeducation.org.au.
> However, at present it's just a messy wiki more suitable for our own
> brainstorming than for being a public-facing resource.
> The wiki should of course remain, but I propose that we build a proper,
> presentable Web site that is directly accessible via the
> http://openeducation.org.au address.
> Why do this when we already have http://linux.org.au/education? Open Education
> is much bigger than Linux, and certainly should not be anchored to it. Here's
> a short list of what it can include:
> * FOSS
> * (GNU/)Linux OS - on servers
> * (GNU/)Linux OS - on clients/desktops
> * open standards
> * open languages/libraries/APIs
> * free content/culture
> * open learning
> * open curriculum
> To be honest, I fear that we might be only hurting ourselves by tying open
> education to a completely Free computing environment. That might be a worthy
> aim, but few institutions are going to switch over all in one go. By offering
> a migration path (or paths), a school can migrate more comfortably at its own
> pace. We ought to be providing real choice, not just a binary 'with us or
> with the terrists'.
> FOSS (Firefox, OpenOffice.org, Scribus, etc.) can run on operating systems
> other than Linux. To use the recent Education Expo as an example, we got a
> lot of buy-in through the OpenEducationDisc, a compilation of FOSS for
> Also note how I split Linux clients from servers. Linux's place in the server
> realm is very solid, but convincing an institution to accept a Linux client
> solution is tougher. And by 'client', I mean either traditional desktops or
> thin clients. The latter are often cost-effective and represent a real
> strength of Linux, but are often overlooked or even have regulations working
> against their adoption. On the server side, we have some great educational
> tools such as Moodle and LAMS.
> Open standards obviously include things like file formats and protocols, which
> will become even more relevant as we see more applications (proprietary or
> otherwise) pick up standardised methods of information exchange such as ODF
> and PDF. This should also ease the integration of FOSS into pre-existing
> environments. It also can include languages and all things related. Why are
> schools still teaching Visual Basic when they could be teaching Python?
> The final three points all link together. Most notably, they are not dependent
> upon technology at all. Your average teacher isn't a technologist, and
> shouldn't have to be. Knowledge can be shared and organised openly just like
> code. Wikipedia has proven that great things can be built if ordinary people
> are given easy to use tools.
> Where to from this point? I suggest that we work towards getting a CMS running
> at openeducation.org.au. We'll have to agree upon a design and the message
> that we want to purvey. Content creation should be separate from technical
> ability, so the CMS should be simple enough for anybody to contribute.
> Here is some inspiration from the UK:
> The UK education sector appears to be much further ahead of us in terms of
> embracing openness, and I think we can take some lessons from their efforts.
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