Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dutch Open Source consultation (10)

Education (continued)
According to a majority of the respondents ICT education has become mainly learning tricks and skills and is the focus mainly on learning tricks of particular software packages. With disdain the respondents look at the computer driving license (or ECDL) for which there exist no book ‘text processing’, but a book ‘Word’. This will establish an insufficiently solid base for the rest of someone’s career.

The skills learned by the pupils/students during their education should not be limited to the software of one supplier. In no single area a student should not work with the package of one single supplier for mote than 50 percent of his/her time (unless the package is so specific that no other package is fit for the task). The student and the pupil need to have a broad background in various packages, says Olivier Sessink of DTO

Influencing the market from government appointed organisations, which promote actively only commercial closed software through schools via cheap educational licenses. Should be ended or at least open source providers should be given equal government support.

The government should also make funds free to chart the market demand for open source competencies by thorough research. A thorough survey is presently undertaken by bureau OSOSS, but this project is endowed with too little resources and capacity. In this way education would get a clear and loud signal with which it can harmonise its curriculum.

The respondents think that something of the culture of open source should penetrate into the essential trajectory of education, for example by having students and instructors participate in the knowledge creation process around content. The government could perform by stimulating usage by investing money and resources, so that educational institutes could make use of new ways of cooperation and innovation. In ICT education this is stronger.

Instructors should gain knowledge of open source and open standards. There should be instruction material which clarifies what open and closed software and standards are and there should be open instruction material. The open source community does not have the support of a marketing department, which makes the software beautiful and glossy. However this is needed if you want challenge closed source. But start at the basis: education, says Margot Lagendijk.

A last point of attention is that much knowledge disappears in closed electronic educational environments, like the Blackboard. The consequences of this can not be overseen in the long term. A suggestion to create OSS special schools on all educational levels, which get extra money in order to stimulate a fast transfer to OS and OSS; with the obligation to disseminate the knowledge to other education institutes.

Blog Posting Number: 790


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