Dinda's Foss Blog

Open Source Software and Learning

From consumers to contributors

with 8 comments

Last week I was honoured to give a presentation at the Ministry of Education for Malaysia’s Open Source Software Conference. The government is making great strides in moving toward open-source software but like all organisations there are still a few hurdles to overcome. Legacy systems and web interoperability sometimes make it difficult to migrate wholesale but every small step in the right direction helps others follow the path they forged.

Malaysia has a great opportunity ahead of it. The new policy for ICT in schools announced at the conference culminated in a great document outlining their latest five year plan to enhance technology in all their schools. They have already invested a great deal in infrastructure and now all teachers, 1 million, have laptops. The next steps are netbooks or laptops for all 3.5 million students. Wouldn’t it be great to see all those system running Ubuntu?

It’s not just a technology issue but an education issue. Open-source is the right learning methodology and when you talk to educators they understand that. Open-source can offer something no proprietary offering can; true, authentic learning opportunities where the technology is a part of the learning, not just a tool to do tasks.

Think about this scenario: What if the entire country’s schools from preschool to University level adopted Ubuntu? The current proprietary operating system being used by all students is in English, not in Bahasa Malaysia. It’s too small a market to offer a fully translated system but what if we could enable older students to become translators as part of their curriculum process? The tools and processes are already there. Talk about an authentic learning project! We, the Ubuntu project, teach them how to use these tools and processes so that they can have a better learning experience for all their students.

An entire generation of learners moving from consumers to contributors.

Let the disruption begin.

 

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Written by dindafoss

October 19, 2010 at 4:02 am

Posted in canonical, education, ubuntu

Tagged with , ,

8 Responses

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Planet Ubuntu, Arjan Waardenburg and Zuissi, Ubuntu World Wide. Ubuntu World Wide said: #ubuntu #linux Belinda Lopez: From consumers to contributors: Last week I was honoured to give a presentation at t… http://bit.ly/cT5KfZ […]

  2. What the country need first before doing foss in education is, we need a computer education.

    malaysia currently don’t have computer education in primary school and secondary school level. there is no option to learn programming, no learning of basic computer skill. before that happen we need teacher that know foss, which really the IT world in malaysia don’t have a whole lot of us(aka foss user).

    once we have that then we can think on that. I do believe foss is a good way to teach, it just that we don’t have a environment for that…

    sweemeng

    October 19, 2010 at 6:28 am

    • “there is no option to learn programming” exactly. FOSS has that built into it so while someone is learning basic computer skills they can also learn about the system they are using. There are several ‘learn programming’ applications in the educational desktop for Ubuntu that teach basic computer and programming skills even to very young learners. Teacher training is THE key to any successful deployment and the leaders I spoke to in Malaysia understand that. They are committed to success by giving their teachers the skills they need. True, we in the FOSS community need to do a better job of creating teacher training materials but those are coming.

      Basic computer education, if it is conducted on proprietary systems, builds a dependence where users have to keep buying that systems software. Proprietary companies want you locked in b/c they make money off each new release. Young learners are software agnostic; they don’t care what they use as long as they have something. Teaching them that they have to buy software, or worse pirating software b/c they cannot afford the same software used by those who can afford it builds a dependence of consumerism. With FOSS, it’s the same high quality software for the same price; free. Licensing and tracking costs can then be shifted to other areas, like developing teacher training materials. Even if a proprietary company temporarily lowers the price of say an older version to free, users have no guarantee the next version will be free. Also, with FOSS, users can use the same software at school and at home with no restrictions.

      dindafoss

      October 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm

  3. wow! you have a vision further into the future even for our Malaysian education. great idea. thanks!

    mFaizul

    October 19, 2010 at 8:33 am

  4. History repeats itself. In the 70’s Bell Labs was giving away source code licenses of UNIX[TM] to Universities. Linux would not be here if they hadn’t.

    Ken Stailey

    October 19, 2010 at 11:22 am

    • I personally think that with repository like github or bitbucket, it should make it easier for one to share and learn

      sweemeng

      October 20, 2010 at 9:17 am

  5. […] I hope your efforts go well and thanks for representing the community in Malaysia! It seems that Mayalsia is a real hotspot for OSS thinking right now. Primary OS: openSUSE 11.3 Testing OS: openSUSE 11.4 oS TCT Reply With Quote […]

  6. […] From consumers to contributors […]


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