LinuxCon 2010 Proposal

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Proposal: Education Mini Summit at LinuxCon 2010
Date: Either August 9 or 10
Suggested Attendance Requirements: Open to all interested parties; participants from the education sector new to open source particularly welcome


The Open Source Way is starting to be a growing force in education, as teachers and learners discover what open source communities have known all along; working on a real product with a community of motivated fellow makers is an excellent way to prepare students for the real world. In recognition of this trend, open source communities of practice have teamed up with educators on initiatives such as Teaching Open Source and the Education for the Open Web Fellowship.

The aim of this mini summit is to present the current developments in education with regard to open source, both in terms of classroom usage of open source technologies and classroom participation in the creation of aforementioned open source technologies. Sessions include hands-on technical demonstrations, deployment stories from users of open source in the field, classroom tips from teachers who have brought their students into open source communities, and more. The summit itself will serve as a platform for continued discussion on how to leverage student engagement in open source communities, and how those open source communities can benefit from the pool of fresh new talent and the tradition of deliberate and reflective learning that schools and good teachers provide.

Possible Speakers

  • Greg DeKoenigsberg (Chief Technical Officer at the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education) on the power of open source communities coming together to create thousands of tiny games aligned to elementary mathematics curriculum standards.
  • Walter Bender (Executive Director at Sugar Labs) on the impact of the Sugar Learning Environment, an interfaced designed from the ground up especially for children as an alternative to traditional “office-desktop” software. Originally developed for the One Laptop Per Child project, Sugar’s Activities are used every school day by one-million children in more than forty countries, with a host of stunning stories to share from the first few years of international deployments.
  • Sebastian Dziallas (Release Manager for the joint Fedora/Sugar Labs project, Sugar on a Stick) on how deployment costs for the Sugar Learning Platform were reduced from $200/child to $10/child (a 95% cost savings) by fitting it into a Linux-based operating system on an ordinary USB thumbdrive ("stick").
  • Máirín Duffy (Senior Interaction Designer at Red Hat) on creating an open content curriculum for teaching local middle schoolers graphic design using an open source toolset, and the results of the course's execution.
  • Matt Jadud (Allegheny College), Remy DeCausemaker, Steve Jacobs (Rochester Institute of Technology), Chris Tyler (Seneca College), and other professors and staff members from the Teaching Open Source community on how they have incorporated active contribution to open source communities as part of the curricular design of their courses and their academic programs, and the work their students have gone on to do.