If You Care About Openness In Education, Read This Post

I was recently informed by my friend Peter Rock, a teacher in a West African school, that his attempts to bring open source software/philosophy into his school context have been abruptly blocked by his administration.

Peter writes eloquently about his experience and gives the grim details. It’s a bit of a horrifying read as what seemed like progress shifted rapidly to a wide-scale ban of free/open source software.

Check out the entire post here, and give Peter your support. He’s a a really tough crusader against some really incredible resistance. This may be one of the most graphic examples I have seen of FUD as it applies to school technology policy.

Update: Miguel Guhlin writes a very thoughtful response to Peter’s situation. It’s definitely worth a read.

3 thoughts on “If You Care About Openness In Education, Read This Post

  1. Whoa, scary. That’s almost cartoonish FUD. Elmer FUD if you will.

    When I first joined my school board I tried the whole-hog approach, trying to convince everyone we should replace everything with FOSS, pronto. They went “Um, let’s experiment with it first on a small scale. Set something up for the kindergartners”. In hindsight, that’s probably the best approach.

  2. Yes, that’s what we did too. Two years ago we presented a proposal to do a pilot test. It lasted for a year and a half. We were set to go but tragic events forced that current director out and the new director walked in and shot the plan down. Fortunately, the tech committee rallied and we now have a cocoon. Unfortunately, this is simply an appeasement as cooperation toward a vision for a free software school is not shared by the admin. So even this cocoon is in danger of simply drying up and withering away over the coming years.

  3. I can appreciate the issues faced in the context of adoption of F/LOSS in school…as pointed out earlier, it is a clear case of FUD in action…I really doubt that this situation will go away soon, with all respect to the excellent efforts by people such as Peter Rock…

    I was wondering, wouldn’t it be possible to start inculcating students in open source & free software in an informal way, which does away with requiring permission from the school management? I know this is a rather vague thought at the moment, but the very thought of dealing with managements and boards on technology issues gives me the creeps, not to say anything about school boards…

    If there is an alternate way that somehow bypasses the school management and yet reaches the students in an organized fashion, I think that will be great…but now I’m dreaming

    Ec @ Free & Open Source Software Database

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