[Linux-aus] New Federal Govt's Education/PC plans

Janet Hawtin lucychili at gmail.com
Mon Dec 3 08:30:18 UTC 2007

On Dec 3, 2007 12:36 PM, Marco Ostini <m.ostini at uq.edu.au> wrote:
> Hey Janet, Phil, et al.
> >> It makes good sense to me that we should immediately lobby the
> >> government to encourage schools to use FOSS.
> > Good advice
> > Tying efforts to things which can be practically supported is great.
> How's this for practical; How would each LA member on this list feel about
> going to this site:
>         http://theopendisc.com/
> Get the ISO and burn it onto a disc and send it, or better yet, deliver it
> in person to your local member. (Especially if their now in Government)

Paul Schulz took ubuntu CDs to parliament in SA last year.
ITShare/Bettong have done a run of 600 openCDs for schools which we
took to the CEGSA conference.
I think Donna has done something similar in Victoria?
Bill Kerr presented at CEGSA on using squeak, Peter Ruwoldt talked
about having open IT student community online.
Peter Evans USQ talked about open communities and online education.
SFD was with Peter Ruwoldt at Grant High School in Mt Gambier this
year. (Also one at Mawson Lakes and one at the General's Lounge gaming
I have talked at the librarians conference on copyright and at the
SiMERR conference on computing in education. I believe that Alan Noble
also spoke at this event. There is plenty to do and yes it would be
fine to see more OpenCDs and distro CDs.
They were snapped up before morning tea.

> With the Disc include a letter explaining what FOSS is, and how it's
> driving the 'Internet Economy' and is the staple for people like Google,
> Yahoo and Wikipedia. It was even used to make the Kevin07 site. (Joomla)
> Chances are pretty good that most of the MP's and schools they will visit
> will have Win32 machines, so if we start with apps we know and love on that
> platform, when they switch to a distro of Linux, they'll feel right at home
> to find the same apps all available.
> Comments, flames? Lets get into this issue people. It's timely and one of
> the very best ways to evangelise FOSS is to get it into the schools and
> USED by children.

For teachers who already support foss the main concern they have is
access to technical support.
It is my understanding that the wages for these roles in schools are
at a cadet level in terms of comparison to other it roles.
This makes it tricky to find and keep staff especially in regianol
areas where people with skills will want access to means to push them

If there are ways to sponsor and support people who are doing these
roles even on irc
and to find TAFE or highered institutions interested in doing a kind
of apprenticeship with study and work integrated it would be easier
for teachers to be more adventurous. Teachers are weilding a mob of
approximately 30 students.
Things need to 'just work' or have support folks nearby who help with
graceful recovery.
Challenges around expensive slow bandwidth, content blocking, timing
out of connections, copyright concerns,
doubts around sharing materials and software all contribute to
teachers being risk averse.
Open code and open content both help with this but getting real about
support infrastructure is what is needed to
really underpin a culture which encourages students to look under the bonnet.
Changes in policy which recognise experimentation and breaking things
as a part of learning culture and find ways to
make it OK to risk in school will be a part of that policy infrastructure.


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