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[school-discuss] Riina's blog... A summary of the Open source for Education in Europe conference

Check the blog to get all the live, clickable links... Thanks to friends
at ELEARN-OPENSOURCE for pointing me here. FN


A summary of the Open source for Education in Europe conference
Thursday 17 November - Riina Vuorikari 

Back with a very good feeling from the NL, where the first Open source
for Education in Europe conference took place.

I got my hands full of little goodies to bring home. I picked up a few
TheOpenCDs to bring home for Christmas, a Kubuntu installation Cd, and
brochures produced by OSS Watch, which is a Free and Open Source
advisory service for UK higher and further education. Some good advisory
policies have been produced by OSS Watch, such asDeveloping University
Policies That Engage with Open Source Software, and Policy on Open
Source Software for JISC Projects and Services.  You can find Stuart
Yeates paper on this, I guess slides will be available later on the
conference site.

Other interesting things that I had a chance to see:

      * Of course, check out Stephen Downesâ presentation about his
        vision that he calls Metauniversity (he also called it
        Metaversity, I think combining meta-level and diversity). Open
        Learning and the Metauniversity , PPT Slides  and the MP3
        Mr. Downes talked about a concept for an information
        architecture, that could comply with the vision of M.Feldstein
        âwe need a system that is optimeised toward slotting in new
        pieces as they become available, not as an after-though or an
        add-on, but as a fundamental characteristic of the systemââ.
        Neat, many good concepts, maybe this will work as a roudmap to
        inspire people to see further than tomorrow.
      * My talk about Anticipating Round 2 of the EU Software patents
        battle took place on the second day.  Maybe one third of the
        audience was aware about the issue, so I had been asked to be
        pretty introductory about what software patents are, what is the
        current legislation in EU, and speculating how software patents
        could potentially hinder ICT in education. Slides will be
        available at the conference site later. I made a great
        impression (?) on the audience by stripping my jacket and
        showing off my "No Software Patents-Power to the Parliament"
        tee-shirt ;) You can view a picture of that and the other
        pictures from the conference at vermarioâs gallery. 
      * tOSSad project was also interesting. Itâs yet another EU-founded
        project and the acronym stands for Towards Open source Software,
        Adoption and Dissemination. That is what the project is about,
        really. Check the site. 
      * About the presentations in workshops, I must say that I didnât
        follow many. However, some are worth checking out, like this
        one: Using IMAP to Build a Virtual Learning Environment. Itâs
        good that people think out of the box! 
      * To get an overview about what some Educational authorities and
        Ministries of Education are doing in Europe to promote the use
        of FOSS, you can find a paper by Karl Sarnow and me.

There were tons of other good stuff too, but you have to check it out
for yourselves on the programme. Everything is available under Creative
Commons and the conference used this niftyOpen Conference Systems to
make papers available online.

In general I got the impression that the conference audience was half
programmers and other half  was comprised of people who have interest in
using FOSS in education. Quite a fruitful mix, and I hope some other
stuff will come out of this. At least the continuation for the
conference would be great! 

Other than that a variety of things were recommended such as an award
for the best open source educational software, this would raise
awareness and by submitting products to the award, the community would
also create a good state-of-the-art repertory. Also, a Yearbook idea was
discussed listing most interesting FOSS in education projects in
different fields and areas.

The preemptive position paper against EU software patents idea got good
reception at the conference. We had a workshop about how to get going
and many good ideas were discussed. The timeline to get the arguments
ready is by Dec 15, and at the new year we will start campaigning about
getting signatures, spreading the word, etc. The minutes will be
available also soon, watch this space!

Some other people have posted on their blogs about the conference,

      * Coverage of the conference by Josie Fraser (one
      * Graham
      * Tom Hoffman
      * Vermario http://www.vermario.com/blog/?p=112, 
      * Brent Simpson
      * Stuart
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