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

Janet Hawtin lucychili at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 02:16:28 UTC 2007

LinuxAU and OSIA.
A response from a parallel conversation:

I think that a range of options will suit different purposes.
OpenCD for open code on Windows is one.
Linux on a desktop is one. Being able to see a continuum from use to
makking software
eg. use inkscape, meet the coders, contribute images or bugs or help
to a community.
OLPC making puzzles experimenting outside with networking, sharing
stories and puzzles from overseas and other schools. Making coded
objects with visual tools.
People using Windows with closed code is also one.

If teachers want to use whiteboards it may be because
- it is a way of making their (known)personal computer big and visible
for a class
- it doesnt involve the copyright and online bandwidth issues
involved in internet
- it requires no technical support.
- students are not 'chaotic' while using it.
Its value as a learning tool is also limited because of each of these aspects.

My answer to doing more web based and safe chaos is a that we need to
provide a sustainable system of technical support to schools which
provides real support for innovation and experiment.

Without that kind of support, (and I mean people who want to help the
students and teachers look under the bonnet and make stuff, not people
who want to BOFH and control the school network) then teachers are
making a risk or an extra effort to make these kinds of opportunities
without support.

The policies around technology in schools need to be supportive of
constructive risk.

Peter Ruwoldt has had some ideas in this area.
Online community of support.
Connection between in school IT cadet and TAFE training/highered.

If the school system values engineering nouse and understanding then
the proposed closer relationship between trades and schools could
offer an opportunity to make something more supported available which
I think could help the schools to relax and feel more confident about
risking with technology in ways which are good for learning.

Making it safe to learn, try new things and be adventurous is partly
about the policy and support scoping the opportunities which both
teachers and students are able to employ.

Legally safe standard formats for getting material in and out of specific tools.
Able to find creative commons materials you can mashup change and
experiment with.
All of these are a part of being a participant in an information
technology context rather than a subscriber. That is the shift which
is needed to be able to learn skills suitable for working in
innovative industries.


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