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[News] Free Software for Educating Kid Programmers

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Open source programming languages for kids

,----[ Quote ]
| The past couple of years have seen an explosion of open source programming 
| languages and utilities that are geared toward children. Many of these 
| efforts are based around the idea that, since the days of BASIC, programming 
| environments have become far too complex for untrained minds to wrap 
| themselves around. Some toolkits aim to create entirely new ways of 
| envisioning and creating projects that appeal to younger minds, such as games 
| and animations, while others aim to recreate the "basic"-ness of BASIC in a 
| modern language and environment.       


They can't learn without control of the framework or P/L.


Free software And Using Open Document Formats in Education

,----[ Quote ]
| In the last few months I have logged couple of thousand kilometers travelling
| all over the southern part of India. Right now I am on a 26 hour train ride
| back from the Nation Conference on Free Software in Cochin, Kerala. I am
| writing post sitting on the floor with my laptop precariously balanced on my
| lap in the doorway of a fast moving express train and the stinking toilets. I
| am fighting a losing battle against the stench, trying my best not to pass
| out and fall off the train. The engineer who decided to place the power
| outlets here at this ominous spot has a wried sense of humour.


When Will They Ever Learn?

,----[ Quote ]
| So why aren't more such courses being run? It seems yet another example of
| institutional inertia: since most of the business world is still using
| Windows, there is an assumption that the next generation of engineers should
| be trained in that. But that's just lazy thinking: universities should be
| training future coders for the future, and from current trends it's clear
| that open source will play a huge role there. Unfortunately, it seems that
| the university authorities are still stuck in old mindsets, and are unwilling
| to take even small steps - like the one Red Hat announced away - from the
| tried and tested paths.


Linux in U.S. Schools: Why the Resistance?

,----[ Quote ]
| All over the world, there are schools that have saved tremendous amounts of
| money spent on education simply by switching to Linux. Despite the common
| belief here in the U.S. that there is a "software shortage" for this open
| source platform, schools in other countries have managed to make the switch
| to Linux with very little sacrifice.


In Defense of a Linux Education

,----[ Quote ]
| The difference between learning how to use a new tool and learning a new
| concept is the same difference between receiving training and gaining an
| education. How many times have you heard (or said) that algebra and history
| are not “useful” in “real life”? I can understand when such a claim is made
| by a sixth-grade student who has much time left to decide on a career, but
| I’ve even heard college students complain that their programs of study should
| focus on what they will “do for a living” and that all of the basic curricula
| should be dropped. “I’ve already taken that in high school!” they cry. What
| many students never come to understand is that by teaching you the same old
| things in new, more complex ways forces your mind to think differently, to
| grow.


Microsoft, the Bully

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft is sending letters to school districts insisting on audits to make
| sure they are paying for all the licenses they should be.
| [...]
| However, along with that threatening letter is a sales brochure for a new
| license program from MS: pay us money for every PC in the district capable of
| running Windows and pay for it every year. Over and over again. Every year.
| [...]
| But then I think…Linux is free.
| Linux will never threaten you.
| Linux will never ask you for money.
| Linux will never try and revoke your ability to use it.
| Linux will never ask you to not share.
| Linux encourages you to give back and make things better and share that
| better with others.
| Linux has a nice soft fluffy mascot.
| Linux loves children.
| It seems like such an easy decision.


Becta, open source and education: Too little, too late?

,----[ Quote ]
| Slow adoption of open source and free software in UK schools can be
| attributed to the same kind of inertia that afflicts SMEs in the UK. It
| arises from a fear of the unknown, misapprehensions of the capabilities of
| the software, over-reliance on trusted suppliers, and general lack of
| awareness of the alternatives - but the major obstacle has been a lack of
| coordination, direction or understanding from the relevant authorities,
| exacerbated by a series of agreements with Microsoft at government level that
| have effectively tied the education system into Microsoft-only solutions.


The OSC's open letter to Becta

,----[ Quote ]
| If you are a school, ignore Becta's project, ignore Becta, and seek advice
| from the people who are able to give it. Any of the organisations Becta
| rejected will be your best choice.
| If you are a member of the Open Source community or industry not yet touched
| by this scandal, boycott the project and refuse to have anything to do with
| it. It's not about 'Open Source', it's about jobs for the boys, spin, and
| discrediting non-proprietary software.
| If you are anyone else, throw your hands up in despair at yet more political
| sleaze, cronyism and incompetence, and vote for someone other than the
| current government at the next election, preferably someone with policies on
| Open Source and Open Government.


The Case for Linux in the Classroom

,----[ Quote ]
| Linux is the only OS designed and equipped with Education in mind. Edubuntu,
| a flavor of Linux, is designed with the classroom in mind. It comes
| preinstalled with education software and applications that suit students of
| all grade levels, and even has some handy applications for the teacher too.


BECTA Rubbishes Almost the Entire UK Open Source Industry

,----[ Quote ]
| I've written a number of times about BECTA, charting its constant flip-flops
| on open source in schools – sometimes damning it, sometimes driving it. Like
| me, you've probably been increasingly confused about BECTA's real attitude to
| free software. Well, I think we know now, following the snubbing of all the
| most experienced UK open source players in the awarding of a major contract
| to promote open source in schools.    


A learning experience

,----[ Quote ]
| The situation looked to have improved in early May when it was revealed that
| Becta had issued an invitation to tender for a project to set up and run an
| open source schools project.  
| As Glyn Moody reports, however, despite bids from the great and the good of
| open source in the UK (supported by the likes of Red Hat and Canonical) the
| contract was awarded to The AlphaPlus Consultancy, a company described as
| having “no known experience or track record in FOSS”.  


Becta schools deal stuns British open-istas

,----[ Quote ]
| He claimed that the decision to snub bidders that included Red Hat-backed
| Sirius and Canonical-backed The Learning Machine exposed Becta’s open
| source “posturings” as a “sham”.  
| Becta, which in recent months has been a vocal critic of Microsoft’s
| monopolistic stranglehold on software, invited bidders to tender for
| its “Open Source Schools” project in May.  
| At the time it said: “Becta wishes to ensure that schools are aware of and
| can access the wide variety of open source software in the marketplace. To
| achieve this it recognises that they must be supported in its awareness,
| adoption, deployment, use and ongoing development.”  

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