[Linux-aus] Re: Grant Request Approved

da kangawallafox ninja at kangawallafox.com
Fri Jul 28 22:55:23 UTC 2006

Hash: SHA1

Hi Donna

Donna Benjamin wrote:
> Thank you Linux Australia.
> I got some great feedback from people, and will be promoting
> Linux-Australia and the education mini-conf at every opportunity whilst
> at ACEC 2006.  ( http://www.acec2006.info )

It is good to see this being promoted at these conferences.  I will look
out for you while I am there (I have a couple of presentations and a
workshop - that does use opensource software).
> I've recently become more aware that we have to battle the perception
> that somehow free software is 2nd rate, that it is not as good as
> proprietary software. It seems there is also a strong and genuine fear
> that choosing open source solutions means risking not being able to get
> the right staff, training or support.

I really do not think that this is the major problem at all in schools
especially qld schools.  I think it is a combination of problems and
this one is quite small.  Often staff within schools do not get given
the choice and there are often mandates from other areas about what
software is to be used (including ridiculous SOE's).  We then hear the
excuses about files not being compatible between systems/software yet as
we are all know, there is really no issue here with most opensource
software - its generally the proprietary software that causes headaches.
 We also hear about issues that people term as pedagogical issues and
that they have to teach children the software that "everyone" uses - yet
education with ICT should not be about teaching the software.  Students
 should be learning with it. In many cases the software/OS is
transparent to many children, its the teachers that often have hangups.
 The children in a lot of the research I have done often are  just
looking for the software (tool) that is best suited to the task at hand.

Often in many institutions we have enough difficulty just trying to get
teachers excited about using ICT in the classroom to start with - and it
does not depend on the age of the teachers either.  We see this in
teachers of all ages.  In other cases most teachers do not even realise
when they are using opensource software.  Getting teachers that are new
to using ICT to change from something that they are comfortable with is
a challenge - a comfort zone issue.  They need to have a real reason to
change and use it.  I run many seminars and workshops for educational
institutions and often I use audacity and a few other tools in these
workshops and teachers do not even recognise it as an opensource piece
of software. We do have to educate them, but we have to give them
reasons for using it and get them excited about using it.

Let promote the use of opensource software, but as I said lets give
people reasons to use it and excite them about it, many don't even know
what it is in education, so thinking that it is second rate software
probably has not even crossed their minds.

> I believe that addressing and acknowledging these perceptions should be
> part of my presentation.
> Whilst I will focus on Open Source Victoria's initiatives of the FOSS
> catalog for schools, the LiveLAMP project and my own research on the
> FOSS-VELS matrix - I will acknowledge Linux Australia's sponsorship of
> my attendance as part of my presentation, and perhaps I could arrange to
> distribute ubuntu cds, opencds, & FC5dvds ??
> Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions, or might like
> to look over my presentation as I develop and change it for this
> Computers in Education conference.
> Thanks again, I am grateful, and I intend to make the most of this
> opportunity for advocating FOSS in the education sector.
> Donna
> On Wed, 2006-07-26 at 15:48 +1000, James Purser wrote:
>> Hi Donna,
>> Your grant request to attend the Australian Computers In Education
>> Conference has been approved by the committee. It was felt that your
>> presentation would greatly further the cause of Free and Open Source
>> Software in Australia, specifically the education sector.
>> Please contact us to finalise the details for the grant.

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