From the perspective of most schools, the big advantage of open source software is that no-one is demanding payment for licence fees, either outright or as annual subscription. That's not to say that it's without any costs, but training, support, maintenance and, for web-based applications, hosting, are costs which apply to all software, whether open source or proprietary. Back in 2005, a small scale study by Becta identified significant savings in the total cost of ownership for open source schools, not only for licences but also for hardware, training and support.
Open Source beyond the software Miles Berry Roehampton University iMoot 11
As with any craft, to produce truly outstanding work requires a complete mastery of the tools of the trade... Understanding just how to use the software rather than the machine that sits behind it limits the ability of the user.
“ The fundamental learning situation is one in which a person learns by helping someone who really knows what he is doing.”
“ Apprenticeship is the state/process of evolving and looking for better ways and finding people, companies and situations that force you to learn those better/smarter/faster ways”
The journeyman is focused on building an ever-larger portfolio of applications that demonstrates his progress in the craft; he moves between projects and masters, seeking to diversify and deepen his portfolio; he seeks to elevate his status within the community; and he strives to become ready to be a master.
In short, masters view the acquisition, usage, and sharing of superior skill as the most important part of being a … craftsman.
The 'tinkering' teacher is an individualised embryo of institutional knowledge creation. When such tinkering becomes more systematic, more collective and explicitly managed, it is transformed into knowledge creation…
Transfer is difficult to achieve for it involves far more than telling or simply providing information…
This is most easily achieved when a teacher tinkers with information derived from another's professional practice.
Attempts to use ICT in ways that transform pedagogy and learning are strongly constrained by factors beyond participants' control
I will argue that innovations in pedagogy do not lie within the teacher's gift, or even within the school's gift, because they always have implications for how students, teachers and the school are recognised and valued by the community, locally and nationally.
Our schools are now a desert swept with the winds of yesterday's technology; meanwhile our students can be found drinking from an oasis of smartphones, smart apps and smart interfaces. They have answers to questions we haven't even dared to ask. They outsmart us at every turn.
Teenagers upgrade their mobile phone every 12 months. Even the socially disadvantaged are one step ahead of their school's ICT. That's not a problem. That's a huge opportunity schools should grasp. It's an opportunity to save money and upgrade our thinking about ICT.
Even last year's smartphone will operate as a calculator. And a book reader. It will translate the Bible from the original Hebrew and can differentiate Sin(x). It can pinpoint both the Battle of Hastings and the Belt of Orion. It will act as a word processor, a piano and a spirit level. Not bad for a bit of kit that your school didn't purchase and doesn't maintain.
Schools don't need ICT. It's coming through our doors every day. We just need to adopt and adapt a little bit.