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Re: [school-discuss] Do Something Dot Org

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 10:27 AM, David Bucknell <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
This is an interesting idea.  It may be that you are right; however,
as exciting as it would be to get the old engine fired up, before we
jump into that kind of role, and I am certainly for a more vital
group, let's look at our mission.  
I think David's made some very good points.  It's great to advocate certain projects, but if you're struggling with just trying to get a school district to accept open source software in the first place, other priorities come first.
Here's the "mission" statement from the Web site:

"SchoolForge's mission is to unify independent organizations that
advocate, use, and develop open resources for education. SchoolForge
is intended to empower member organizations to make open educational
resources more effective, efficient, and ubiquitous by enhancing
communication, sharing resources, and increasing the transparency of
This is important and this is where individual users can help improve communication between different projects and recommend they share resources and intercooperate when possible.  The more communication we can help facilitate between different projects that could cooperate or share resources, the better.
  SchoolForge members advocate the use of open source and
free software, open texts and lessons, and open curricula for the
advancement of education and the betterment of humankind."
This, however, is also very important, especially to those of use who are working with others that don't know enough about or aren't anxious to accept free and Open Source resources.  I think the case studies at the web site are helpful and if we could do more to show the effectiveness of using free and Open Source, that would be very helpful for Districts that haven't accepted Open Source yet.  It's not just cost savings that will bring schools over to Open Source.  Our District claims it's interested in cost effective ideas and improvements, but I've yet to see them act on any of them.  Other factors, like support when there are issues and just finding ways to motivate people to change the status quo are important when advocating Open Source to non Open Source users.  If we could work on some ways to help people switch more easily, help motivate them and to make them feel more secure about switching (letting people know that there are ways to ensure support is available if needed and how to go about getting it), maybe that would be useful.  I think more case studies and sharing some project plans on how to implement these kinds of changes and what the results were from switching would be very helpful. 
We also have to keep in mind, some places FLOSS will make a difference on a District level and as a standard and in some cases, it'll have to win educators over one person at a time.  It would be nice if we could offer resources, ideas, etc. for both these levels.  If Schoolforge members have resources to help advocate Open Source, the web site might be a good place to share them.  For instance, sharing slide shows on switching to Open Source via the web or references (like http://www.ncose.org/node/3 which was posted to the list a while back) can be very helpful.  Also, for those wanting to make the switch, Schoolforge could offer help figuring out what the best choices for the person or organization are.  The web site's software list is a very good start in that direction, but being able to talk to other users and ask pros and cons is also very important.
I think there's a lot of opportunity to share knowledge and resources, to help let others know what's going on with projects and to inform people what free and Open Source resources are currently available out there just waiting to be used.