Karsten M. Self wrote:
on Thu, Mar 24, 2005 at 04:32:30PM -0800, tom poe (tompoe@xxxxxxxxxxx) wrote:Hi: I'm a strong advocate of Open Source in schools, along with a lot of other idiosyncrasies, I suppose. I wonder if the topic of school fund-raising and Free or Open Source Software [FOSS] (I haven't searched the archives) has, or is, of interest to list members?It is. It's something I've been kicking around for months, generally along the lines of: - What sort of budgeting issues have people dealt with. - What external sources of financing are available. Microsoft's own involvment is well known, though closer experience suggests the impacts on a given campus or district are less than you might believe. I have to admit that the "bakesale" angle isn't one I'd considered, seems promising.A low-end PC based computer, loaded with state-of-the-art audio and video software enables users to create high-quality CDs, DVDs, tv shows, radio shows, Public Service Announcements, etc. If a classroom of kids were to create a CD, and sell 100 of them at USD$10/CD, the class would raise USD$1,000. Of that, no money would have needed to be spent for the computer, if the computer were donated.Note that for some tasks, horsepower and size matter. For video work, you're going to want both fast and significant storage (a few GiB for each 20 minutes of video IIRC -- this multiplies rapidly with lots of kids, projects, and/or editing), a fast CPU, and lots of RAM. Other projects (sound, graphics) are less intensive. But there might be some outlay (or aquisition) issues.No money would have needed to be spent for software, as it is freely available through projects like CCRMA or AGNULA. The only costs would be for the CDs and cases and the paper for the covers, inserts, etc. In other words, a world-class fund-raising campaign could be carried out for pennies, with the rest being "profit" for the school.Another angle would be to sell software -- Knoppix (or other) disks, GNUWin, or similar. Media and consumable costs are low as you note. I hadn't thought of locally generated content. Could be a neat tie-in to other creative activities (drama, music, voice, industrial arts), provisos for copyright and other IP issues. The question to me is how interested schools are in engaging in retail operations. OTOH, there's a long tradition of various fundraising efforts. Might pay off big. There are also "local access" TV/radio stations in most areas, on cable access, which might be another tie-in. It's *really* key to emphasize that OSI / FSF / DFSG guidelines are such that selling Free Software (or charging for its distribution) _is_ explicitly allowed. And that most licenses explicitly disclaim liability and warranty, addressing the risk side. Really cool idea, Tom.There are literally tens of thousands of volunteers around the world to step in to provide both technical and training support. Thus, it seems, this is one of those too good to be true thingys for school administrators to consider. The only unique aspect of this approach, is that we're interested in putting Free or Open Source Software to use in the schools for a specific purpose, unrelated directly to education in the classroom.Could be tied to specific programs. E.g.: a portion of proceeds to the computer program, the participating arts program, and general administrative overhead. I don't know too many schools turning away money these days in the US.However, if you look close, you'll find that the projects would provide a good foundation for presenting the features of FOSS in a receptive audience, the school administrators, who just might find it easier to expand the use of the computers to enable kids to use them for educational learning programs in the classroom. Does that make sense? I think marketing types would call that a "hook". :)I'm liking.My question is, is this something the list members have experience with? If so, I'd sure like to learn more from you folks.I've had some experience through the Boys & Girls Clubs (US). One neat thing done there is that there are annual contests in several areas. Not just computer-related, though this is growing. Included are: art, including fine art, construction / 3d / sculpture, photography (low manipulation), and "digital art" (highly manipulated) music; online content (web; etc.); film/video; and writing. Games might be another category, though that's probably advanced. The nice thing about the competitions is that it focusses activity and interest throughout the year. The downside is that the contest rules are somewhat arbitrary, and there's a lot of frantic scrambling to get _something_ in. And in the case of the B&GC, Microsoft's paw is eminantly evident.There's an interesting variation on the theme above, with a CD called, Studio to Go! (I think that's the name). I understand it costs about USD$50. The nice thing about it, is, it includes an interactive tutorial to Rosegarden4, which, alone, is invaluable, in my opinion.NB: Rosegarden is a music program. Not sure if Audacity factors into your concept, but I've worked with it, with kids, to good effect: http://linuxmafia.com/~karsten/ClickysQuest-DontTryThisAtHome.ogg (OK, so that was mine) Peace.
L. Dean, CEO
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