Trouble with RDF feed

I think there’s been some trouble with ICTlogy.net RDF feed, at least it seems to me so looking at Bloglines.

I suggest, thus, that those subscribed to this feed shift to RSS or Atom to avoid being banned from reading such things ;)

UNDP FOSS in education primer

Tan Wooi Tong (International Open Source Network, UNDP’s Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme) has written a primer about F/OSS in education.

This primer is intended to help policy – and decision – makers understand the potential use of FOSS in education — where and how it can be used, why it should be used, and what issues are involved. In particular, officials in ministries of education, school
and university administrators, academic staff and researchers should find this primer useful.

Actually, I haven’t read it yet (55 pages) but the table of contents looks quite interesting to me:

Introduction
Why FOSS for Education?

Infrastructure
Requirements of educational institutions
Server software
Workstation software
Cost savings

Administration
Library management systems
Learning management systems
Others

Teaching IT with F/OSS
Computer literacy
Schools
Higher education

Open Content

Research using F/OSS
Bioinformatics
High-end computing

Training in F/OSS
Certification

Policy Uses

Glossary
References
Further readings
About the author
Acknowledgement

The reference:

Tan Wooi Tong: Free/Open Source Software in Education (909 Kb)

The primer is published under a Creative Commons license.

[via Lucinda Ramos through the elearn-opensource discussion list]

Is the free software model of production applicable to free educational content?

Update: Good contributions in the comments to this post, one by Candido and the other one by the author of the article, Sergio Monge

In an article entitled ¿Es aplicable el modelo de producción del software libre a contenidos educativos? (Is the free software model of production applicable to free educational content?), Sergio Monge Benito compares how free software is developed and tries to see if the educational community could reproduce its model to produce free educational content.

The text is very interesting. After a first short introduction to F/OSS he says that software and content are quite similar. They both are packeted knowledge and so they can be shared, modified, easily transferred, etc. Another point is their modularity. In both cases, software or content can be cut into little pieces (the shortest bunch of lines of code or the tiniest learning object) so its difficult not to be able to adapt a part of the whole to one’s own purposes.

The problem, of course, is not the similarities but differences. These differences are grouped in the following lines:

The community

There is a community of free software but there is not a community of free content teachers, at any level but, specially, at the secondary school level – of course he speaks of an articulated, legitimized, running, actual community, collaborative network the way we understand the hacker community.

Technological tools

This community of teachers or content producers does not master the technological tools to be used in a collaborative ICT enhanced environment.

Even if they did, they surely do not master either everything concerning the production of materials to be used in virtual environments or, at least, to be filed in virtual repositories. The author does not speak of anything concrete but I guess he’s right thinking that not everyone knows about HTML, DHTML, Flash, Breezer, RSS, PDF, PowerPoint, etc. – I know it sounds weird but try and run a poll in your nearest environment.

Standards

Simple. While the F/OSS community is standard guided, content community is not. Yes, there’s some attempts with IMS, Scorm, etc. but this is only a part of the problem – the technologycal one – and it is far from being solved.

Concerning to content itself – and this is my opinion – this community of teachers has a lot to learn from people usually working in wikis (is it the same community? maybe)

University Volunteers

Mmm, dark point here. The author says most of the biggest leaps in F/OSS came from the University, from university volunteers (“the F/OSS community benefits from availability of time and energy from university students all over the world”). Well, this might be true, but I think is a little bit biased.

The author concludes that teachers are usually overwhelmed by their everyday work and thus the University – university volunteers – should collude with them in their effort to create these learning objects and asks the public administration and the private sector for help.

Critical mass

A minimum number of people is required to kick off a F/OSS project. Then, others join it and the project goes on.

This is difficult to happen in the educational world as there is an “individualist tradition” in the teaching community.

The reference:

PDF file Sergio Monge Benito: ¿Es aplicable el modelo de producción del software libre a contenidos educativos? (110 Kb, in Spanish)

Well, not a very optimistic point of view, though I share it 90%.
At least, we seem to know our weak points :)

[via Sierto]

The Future Paradigm: Social e-learning

A fragment of the Digital and Social Inclusion Chart, it brings 5 key points about… Internet in developing countries (I’m sorry I cannot bring a clearer name):

  • Social solutions to social problems: A subject long discussed in this blog and that I share heartily: we need to address the social problems that have turned people into digitally excluded, and not only consider the ones derived from lack of structure
  • Community and awareness: the Community as the natural environment where to run projects and articulate an endogenous development. Enhancing the power of the Community has multiplicator effects, synergies, etc.
  • Towards the transparent PC: KPCSS: Keep the PC Simple, Stupid!
  • Problem solving methodology for e-learning: we need to avoid academicism, and to construct e-learning materials that are useful, practical, and motivational. I guess this is not only true for developing countries, but is specially a critical point.
  • Internet for everybody: accessibility, accessibility, accessibility.

Full article in elearningeuropa.info

[via Online Learning Update, posted one month ago, filed somewhere in my desktop until now :P ]

II Workshop on Internet and Solidarity

Last year I took part at the I Jornades Internet i Solidaritat (I Workshop on Internet and Solidarity) organized by OneWorldSpain.

We’re now planning what it will surely be called II Jornades Internet i Solidaritat (II Workshop on Internet and Solidarity), though this time organized by a consortium of different NGOs and cooperation for development institutions:

We’re just beginning the design of the workshop but, so far, two ideas arose that I found interesting:

  • Internet as a public good: as all other public goods, Internet, ICTs and all other related technologies and applications, should be considered good to be fostered per se, as they have associated benefits that enhance welfare, progress, etc.
  • Internet as a public space: as a public space, civil society should take part in the definition of this space, its rules and related laws, etc. instead of sparing it for the enterprise level or the public administration level. Everyone should be allowed to be part of the process of building this space

[written in a hurry :P]

Happy Birthday ICTlogy.net

I quite forgot!! :O

It’s been a whole year, since 21st October 2003, that I’ve been running this ICT4D blog, ICTlogy.net.

Antonio Porchia, the italian born argentinian writer (1886-1968), once wrote Sé lo que te he dado. Pero no sé lo que has recibido: I know what I gave you, but don’t know what you received.

And I should add: I don’t know if I gave you anything at all, but sure know what I leart in the way. And I dare say I learnt quite a good bunch of things :)