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Re: [school-discuss] Free-Open Baccalaureate Idea

Hi David,

> This is a proposal for another Schoolforge project. I take the idea that we
> are "forging" a school as my inspiration, and so I am interested in the
> creation of all of its parts.

This doesn't just seem like "another" project.  This could be considered the 
"ultimate" Schoolforge project.

> If you are an experienced teacher with up-to-date curriculum knowledge, no
> matter what part of the world you're from, or a free and open source user
> and promoter who would like to see it used in education, let's join efforts
> via a wiki and build the foundation of a curriculum, lessons, texts and
> other resources that could be adapted internationally.
> As we have begun working on the collaborative book about free and open
> resources in education (http://sfzwiki.opensourceschools.org and
> http://members.iteachnet.org/mailman/listinfo/sfbook) some of us have been
> thinking of that other part of the greater project that has been started
> and stopped by numbers of people:
> *the curriculum,
> *lessons,
> *texts,
> *software, and
> *other resources.
> I see no reason that by using a wiki, we could not begin all them at once.
> I would love to see an international group form from among those already
> interested in curricula, lessons, texts and software to create courses in
> each area and at each level. After all, a wiki is always in process and can
> always be revised to make it consistent. For example, a group could, and
> should, form around creating an English (or any other language) course for
> elementary (primary), middle or secondary levels. We will need people
> willing to act as project leaders, just like Linus or RMS or esr did for
> their projects. However, I should think primary effort would be given over
> to the curriculum first, for perhaps a year.  Then those interested in
> writing lessons and texts and other resources would know what goals they
> were working toward.

You've hit on something important here, David.

It would be reasonably safe to presume that everyone on this list understands 
that Schoolforge is more than just bringing FOSS into education; it is about 
'forging' a school, as you say.

Practically, that obviously means _alot_ of effort will need to go into 
curriculum development.  The idea of a FOB (great acronym :-)) is something 
that has vaguely passed through my mind, but to my knowledge no one has 
actually seriously put forward the idea, until now.

For the wealthy (within which I would include myself), whether or not a 
curriculum is free (as in freedom) is a moot point.  Either way, the 
opportunities for a decent education are there.

For the rest of the world, for the three-quarters or so (that's a conservative 
estimate) of the world's population who can't afford to have a bank account 
(let alone afford the I.B.), for the poor and margionalised, something like 
this could only be a good thing.

> The curriculum should follow current educational standards and trends, so
> we must enlist both practitioners and theorists from around the world. We
> may end up identifying a common core on which we can agree and set up ways
> for divergent philosophies to carve out their own niches.


I think this project just might appeal to many educators who perhaps would 
have absolutely no interest in Schoolforge's current activities.  I can 
almost see several of my former IB teachers becoming eager about this, 
probably after some initial doubt mind you...

> For example, most current curricula are "standards-based," but that type of
> curriculum is often tied to testing. It need not be. We could leave that
> part for others. Assessment of progress can come in many forms. The main
> thing is a system of diagnosis and prescription. The curriculum must allow
> a teacher to identify a student's level (regardless of grade/year
> placement) and prescribe a set of tasks to move him or her ahead -- toward
> agreed-upon goals.
> Regardless of what the curriculum ultimately looks like, it should have
> these characteristics:
> *portability
> *a free and open license such as the FDL or the equivalent Creative Commons
> license (I say this in light of recent discussion on the sfbook list)
> *built-in internationalizability
> *built-in customizability
> *Because of the growing success of the International Baccalaureate, a
> non-profit project that costs a lot of money and is tightly protected by
> copyright, I've often thought a free and open alternative could be named
> the Open Baccalaureate or the Free Baccalaureate or the F.O.B., the Free
> and Open Baccalaureate.

The copyright issue would possibly be the hardest barrier to such a project, 
beyond the obviously huge job of designing the curriculum.

I don't think that the FDL, Creative Commons license or any other license 
(currently in existence) for that matter could cover this project.  Multiple 
licenses might even be required for different components.

I'm no lawyer, so I'd seek legal advice, just like the FSF does on many 

I'd definitely copyleft, though.

The bottom line is that I'd want to make firm, carefully crafted decisions 
about the copyright/left issue before going much further.  If something other 
than raw (wo)manpower were to make or break this project, it'd be this.

> It has been difficult to think up how to fund and organize the
> international collaboration needed, but as John Ingleby pointed out,
> Wikipedia provides a good example of an international wiki effort. So, is
> anyone interested, please speak up.

I'm interested, but of absolutely no use for such a project at this point in 
my life (or of the project) :-(

Maybe one day...

> The exciting thing about a schoolforge curriculum project is that it would
> give new meaning to technology integration (a current theme/goal). It is
> not hard to imagine that this group would/could create something that
> seamlessly integrated computer use in a usable, appropriate and sustainable
> way few others could. I wonder, for example, if we couldn't lend our
> efforts to Bruno Coudoin's GCompris so to give it a complete set of lessons
> for beginning reading and mathematics. We'll need all kinds of help, so if
> you're interested, please speak up.

What exactly do you mean by "seamlessly integrated computer use"?

It is certaily true that Schoolforge's diverse assortment of human resources 
is a rarity.  That makes me hopeful for it.

Daniel Carter