[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [school-discuss] Open Content and open source for developping countries

Dear Paolo,
thank you for your important piece of mail :-)!
> But, the problems which some organization try to solve by bringing books
> for children learning in develoing countries is
> that the gap between rich countries and less rich countries is
> increasing. However, the same might also be said of
> poor/rich differences in rich countries...
I think this is one of the basic items to be discussed as there is no sense
trying to offer open source contents for people who are getting poorer and
poorer. But open source could be a tool fighting poverty. Let's try to
remember that only those who are very rich can afford themselves the chance
to help others without an interest of their own. If it's always only
helping, is another problemacy.
> The question of open content for school is I think the need of an
> authority on what is acceptable or not,
> either on the pedagogical level or on the ethical one.
I find ethical, pedagogical and technological questions as a complex of
matters that are intertwined in a way that you can't solve one of them
without finding a way to solve the others. It's basically not a question
about the means of communication we use in education but about what we
learn, how we learn and why we learn, isn't it? Open Source can be a better
solution in both rich and poor countries if it is not as greedy as
commercial solutions. My own ethical principle in these matters is fair flow
of giving and getting. I hate exploitation in any form.
I think I know something about what changing from commercial software to
open source means in practical terms in schools. If you can construct the
computing network in a school from scratch and the teachers have no ICT
culture before, it's no problem to start with open source solutions. To turn
existing Windows systems into Linux is a really challenging task for the
whole community of teachers and also for the financial supporter of the
school. It's easier to learn something new than to learn away things you
have adopted. A quote from J.Ollila, the managing director of the company
Nokia: "To make new things we had to learn how to stop making old things".
In a rich and technologically advanced country like mine, the most topical
problems in schools when it comes to pedagogic-technological use of ICT
are - if I can see right - psychological and ideological.


Ilpo Halonen,
language teacher
Vihti high school, Finland
the home country of Linus ;-)