Computers and Internet:
sources of social exclusion or
engines of education and human development?
Marco Fioretti

http://...
Questions discussed in this talk
What is software anyway?
Do computers and Internet unite or divide?
Do they help educate ...
Important!!!
This is not a talk about software and programming
This is not a technical talk
This is a talk about civic edu...
Author introduction
Marco Fioretti
Member of
OpenDocument Fellowship (www.opendocumentfellowship.com)
Digistan.org (www.di...
Agenda
Basic concepts
Practical guidelines
Conclusions and discussion

Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net)
http://mfior...
The basics: human rights
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and
expression; this right includes freedom to hold
...
Why are SW and digital technologies so important?

Software is not a stand-alone industry or set of tools, but
something t...
Why is digital information good?
If all conceivable
kinds of
information (from
texts to music,
images and 3D
models) can b...
Why is software relevant?
What matters isn't software, but what is done
through and thanks to software
Your own civil righ...
Software and public money
Regardless of license costs, software can make us save or waste huge
amounts of public money
Qui...
Software, infrastructures and services
"Increased use of digital information” is one of the essential prerequisites to bui...
Software and human beings
Software makes the difference in:
Relationships
Education
Business
Marco Fioretti (marco@digifre...
Good uses of software
Software is used well when:
solves actual problems that YOU really have
does what YOU need, how YOU ...
Bad uses of software
Software is used badly when:
you were forced to use it, or to use the wrong software
you force others...
Digital is a culture, therefore...
“the ‘digital’ in today’s life is no longer a range of individual
things, anything from...
2008: Hague Declaration on Digital Rights
Government information, services and resources are increasingly
provided virtual...
What is that makes software different?
There are some big potential differences for

“New and old car in Prishtina Market”...
Why and how is software dangerous?
If a software maker goes bankrupt or simply
discontinues a product, instead, it can put...
For all these reasons...
●

Technology (especially digital) is legislation
(derived by C. Einfeldt)

●

“those who control...
What is really important?

FSF, 1984:
"So that I can continue to use computers
without dishonour, I have decided to put
to...
What is really important? (2)

FSF Latin America, 2009:
Software Freedom activists have a responsibility to present values...
What is really important? (3)

2005:
Almost all software applications are used to manage
information so these applications...
What is really important? (4)

2009:
“these databases that grow through user
contributions are the real source of lock-in....
The nature of digital file formats

What is this?

Answer:
the Bula In Apostolatus Culmine, that is
the Papal document tha...
The nature of digital file formats (2)

Software is like pens, formats like
alphabets: if the alphabet is free, it
doesn't...
Practical guidelines
If software, formats and everything digital are all these
things, it is evident how big the influence...
Use only Free Software for software teaching
Usage of proprietary software may be unavoidable
in some cases, but not when ...
“Software-neutral” teaching in all disciplines
Never distribute or accept from the students files in
proprietary format
“s...
Promote OpenDocument!!!
Remember the comparison between proprietary
attachments and smoking
The OpenDocument Format (ODF) ...
Saturday is Software Freedom Day!!!

worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS):
To educate the worldwi...
“Software-neutral” teaching: a true story
In November 2005, the Italian Conference of University
Rectors started to promot...
Spread awareness of digital rights
Promote study and discussion in all faculties of the Hague Declaration:
Considering tha...
Teach to look at people, not computer users
Software affects everybody in every moment, not just those who use it
Therefor...
Protect cultural diversity and local traditions
Unesco declaration on cultural diversity, 2001:
... cultural diversity is ...
Protect cultural diversity and local traditions
Through Free Software, of course!!
And also cheap hardware (more on this l...
Open knowledge, of course

Open access to raw research data
and educational material, research
papers
(this topic is only ...
Educate to digital communication

Handing down computers and connectivity to
students without also giving them a vision is...
Never forget a clear purpose

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract
our attention from serious things....
Slacktivism is the new apathy
Problem: something is wrong in the
world
First step: start a Facebook Group
Second and Final...
Real communication, action in the real world
Does this mean that social networks, instant messaging and so on
are intrinsi...
Fight the myth that just being connected is good
the promise is often made to place "a computer in every village", scatter...
Take advantage of open hardware!!!
Why restrict yourself to building new virtual worlds
when it is becoming cheaper and ea...
FPGAs: build your own Integrated Circuits
“microprocessors are always and
only microprocessors: singlepurpose hardware tha...
Arduino is what you want it to be
“Arduino (www.arduino.cc) is an opensource electronics prototyping platform
based on fle...
Arduino is useful to everybody
Garduino: a gardening Arduino
Waters my plants whenever their soil moisture level
drops bel...
Open source, cheap electronic whiteboards

Commercial products can cost 18K Euro
But you can build your own with a Nintend...
Above all...

make sure that students (and teachers!!!)
really understand why this happens and
why it should always be thi...
Conclusions
All the data we need to live decently are, or will soon be, in digital format: therefore,
closed/secrets data ...
Conclusions (2)
Digital awareness is a matter of civic education, not software
engineering.
If the goal is to fight social...
Final thoughts
What do you think? I want to hear from you!!!
Questions?
Contact info:
●

marco@digifreedom.net

●

http://...
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UASD: Computers and Internet: sources of social exclusion or engines of education and human development?

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This is my talk at the first conference about Free Software and Knowledge in Santo Domingo. The conference goal was to "promote and spread the philosophy of Free software, education and knowledge in the Dominican Republic, among all who are concerned about the social, economic and scientific development of Santo Domingo". The main points of the talk were

What is software anyway?

Do computers and Internet unite or divide?

Do they help educate and empower, or do they divide and estrange?

What is the contribution of Universities to the effects of these technologies?

What could it be?

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  • @mrsalwaysright12 thanks. The approach I expressed in that and many other occasion is exactly what eventually led me to propose the percloud!
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  • Marco, Absolutely wonderful. You put together a great set of materials on the issues from all corners of the world.

    Thank you for sharing, the timing is perfect.

    Cheers,
    Lisa
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  • Thanls Mushin. You may want to post the comment also on my percloud presentation here on Slideshare, to make it visible to other people interested in that topic
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  • I appreciate Marco Fioretti insights and current appreciative dialog with Lisa Martinez in development of a 'PerCloud' notion where the locus of control in the enfolding Internet experience returns the locus of ultimate control to the autopoietic creative responsibility of end users within open source technologies. The emergence of the 5th generative social wave of computing is a drastic change arising in the next 5 years that will have profound innovative effects in healthcare, education, family, political justice, dignity in participatory governance, and reconfiguring the identity in organizational performance engines worldwide.

    Marco is a visionary with practical electrical engineering experience designing a solution of the complexity caring for our shared permanent human concerns. I highly recommend supporting the 'PerCloud' endeavor where the control of images, content and distributive creative intelligence in every human is dignified in self organizing a future world together. Marco is inviting us to ride the 5th generative wave tsunami in valuing our humanness and transform the notions of proprietary intellectual knowledge assets currently obscuring knowledge making activities in the future.

    Thank you Marco
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UASD: Computers and Internet: sources of social exclusion or engines of education and human development?

  1. 1. Computers and Internet: sources of social exclusion or engines of education and human development? Marco Fioretti http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  2. 2. Questions discussed in this talk What is software anyway? Do computers and Internet unite or divide? Do they help educate and empower, or do they divide and estrange? What is the contribution of Universities to the effects of these technologies? What could it be? Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  3. 3. Important!!! This is not a talk about software and programming This is not a technical talk This is a talk about civic education and making (or not) the world a better place Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  4. 4. Author introduction Marco Fioretti Member of OpenDocument Fellowship (www.opendocumentfellowship.com) Digistan.org (www.digistan.org) www.eleutheros.org – a Catholic approach to Information Technology RULE (Run Up to date Linux Everywhere, www.rule-project.org) Writer for Linux Journal, Linux Format, Pc Professionale and other magazines Author of the Family Guide to Digital Freedom (http://digifreedom.net) Home page and writings: http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 4
  5. 5. Agenda Basic concepts Practical guidelines Conclusions and discussion Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 5
  6. 6. The basics: human rights Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19, www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 6
  7. 7. Why are SW and digital technologies so important? Software is not a stand-alone industry or set of tools, but something that: makes every other “physical” economic activity work, from agriculture to space travel run every service used by humankind, from mere bureaucracy to healthcare, education, tourism, lotteries... has an exclusive mandate to package and access in digital format every kind of information we need to live Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 7
  8. 8. Why is digital information good? If all conceivable kinds of information (from texts to music, images and 3D models) can be represented as a series of bits 55 73 65 20 4f 70 65 6e 44 6f 63 75 6d 65 6e 74 21 We only need: ONE class of generic storage devices: bit containers which can change shape and technology without particular problems and are very cheap ONE (ok, very large...) class of telecom networks, ie bit transporters And all these data can be preserved or distributed with much less money, time and effort than before! Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved
  9. 9. Why is software relevant? What matters isn't software, but what is done through and thanks to software Your own civil rights and the quality of your own life heavily depend on how software is used around you (Family Guide to Digital Freedom, http://digifreedom.net) Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  10. 10. Software and public money Regardless of license costs, software can make us save or waste huge amounts of public money Quick example from Italy (2007): "costs and inefficiencies in management of paper documents cost from 3 and 5% of GNP, that is between 42 and 70 billions of Euro" "digital documents could save from 50/60% (electronic billing, digital-only archives) to 90% (certified electronic mail)" Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 10
  11. 11. Software, infrastructures and services "Increased use of digital information” is one of the essential prerequisites to build a Smart Energy Grid that will reduce CO2 emissions in USA from 60 to 211 million metric tons of CO2 per year in 2030 (www.smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/Overviews_Misc/The_Green_Grid_Energy_Savings_and_Carbon_Emi ssions_Reductions_Enabled_by_a_Smart_Grid, www.consortiuminfo.org/bulletins/apr09.php#feature) The Obama administration calculated that Electronic Health Records (personal medical histories in digital format) could save up to $77 billion USD in annual health care costs Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 11
  12. 12. Software and human beings Software makes the difference in: Relationships Education Business Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 12
  13. 13. Good uses of software Software is used well when: solves actual problems that YOU really have does what YOU need, how YOU need it provide more opportunities for quality education and rewarding jobs protects, spreads, provides and preserves culture and cultural diversity gives more control on government reduces social (vs "digital-only") divides saves money In one sentence: when it brings more freedom at all levels in your life Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 13
  14. 14. Bad uses of software Software is used badly when: you were forced to use it, or to use the wrong software you force others to use the same software YOU like it is an end, instead of a tool it is used without a clear purpose Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 14
  15. 15. Digital is a culture, therefore... “the ‘digital’ in today’s life is no longer a range of individual things, anything from digital clocks to cellphones to computers to..., but a culture, something which calls upon habits or inculcates habits”. Fr Julian Fox, SDB, Digital Virtues, http://stores.lulu.com/Bosconet Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 15
  16. 16. 2008: Hague Declaration on Digital Rights Government information, services and resources are increasingly provided virtually rather than physically; Freedom of speech and association are increasingly exercised on line rather than in person; The Internet and the Web provide an unprecedented avenue to equality of education and opportunity for all peoples throughout the world; Source: www.digistan.org/hague-declaration:en Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved 16
  17. 17. What is that makes software different? There are some big potential differences for “New and old car in Prishtina Market” www.flickr.com/photos/blandm/297556309/ society between production of software and that of most material goods: when your car breaks or spare parts for it go out of production, there is no retroactive damage. Your next car won't have to be compatible with everything you did with the old one: all the memories of all the trips made with your old car, all the business relationships built thanks to it, will still be there. Secondly, your new car needs not be "compatible" with the cars that your neighbours or co-workers use. Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  18. 18. Why and how is software dangerous? If a software maker goes bankrupt or simply discontinues a product, instead, it can put out of your reach for good all the files you created with it. If that's the case, the damages caused through software have one characteristic common, even if in an infinitely less serious way, with those caused by nuclear plants without waste management policies, or by depleted uranium weapons: It will hurt even people who weren't there when it was used, for a long time after it was used. Using software in the wrong way, you also limit the freedom of choice of everybody else. Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  19. 19. For all these reasons... ● Technology (especially digital) is legislation (derived by C. Einfeldt) ● “those who control the code for the software that makes much of the world go round, can control things that might once have been left to various legislatures to control” Fr J. Fox,SDB, Media and priestly formation today 2009, unpublished Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  20. 20. What is really important? FSF, 1984: "So that I can continue to use computers without dishonour, I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along without any software that is not free" R.M. Stallman, The GNU Manifesto www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved
  21. 21. What is really important? (2) FSF Latin America, 2009: Software Freedom activists have a responsibility to present values, defending and disseminating the essential Freedoms that define Free Software ... Governments must... ensure the control of the goods they administrate and regulate... through Software that brings with it freedom to run it for any purpose, to study its source code to understand its functioning and adapt it to their own needs Caracas Declaration www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/anuncio/2009-07-declaracion-de-caracas Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved
  22. 22. What is really important? (3) 2005: Almost all software applications are used to manage information so these applications are worthless without information to process, store and display... the result of [proprietary file formats (not software)... is that digital information isn’t always under the complete control of the person who created it. M. Fioretti, Format wars www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/articles/focus_format_history Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved
  23. 23. What is really important? (4) 2009: “these databases that grow through user contributions are the real source of lock-in. Eventually, these guys probably will make their software open source because it won't matter. The value lies in having the data.” Tim O'Reilly http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10264471-16.html Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some Rights Reserved
  24. 24. The nature of digital file formats What is this? Answer: the Bula In Apostolatus Culmine, that is the Papal document that 471 years ago created UASD Why can we still read it? Because the document format is completely known and its specifications are completely separated from those of the tool used to create it Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  25. 25. The nature of digital file formats (2) Software is like pens, formats like alphabets: if the alphabet is free, it doesn't matter which pens are used or if their design is proprietary (to know more about the huge negative impact of proprietary or otherwise unknown file formats, read http://mfioretti.com/how-file-formats-can-be-used-favor-or-hamper-innovation-activecitizenship-and-really-free-markets) Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  26. 26. Practical guidelines If software, formats and everything digital are all these things, it is evident how big the influence of Universities is: they have little money and must spend it well, in the interest of both their students and society as a whole. Universities must spread and advance knowledge and its practical benefits as much as possible to the greatest possible number of people Universities form the people who will make decisions about public money and individual freedoms tomorrow. Since software is ubiquitous, they must teach to all their students to use it well. Here are some practical suggestions Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  27. 27. Use only Free Software for software teaching Usage of proprietary software may be unavoidable in some cases, but not when teaching programming "What I cannot create, I do not understand" Feynman If you have no occasion to read, you cannot learn to write Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  28. 28. “Software-neutral” teaching in all disciplines Never distribute or accept from the students files in proprietary format “sending proprietary attachments with email is as socially unacceptable as smoking in a closed room full of people” (real email signature of a Hong Kong University professor) Never set up activities that can only be performed with one single program, even if it's gratis Never force student to install and use software illegally (especially expensive business products e.g. Autocad) Protest, students and teachers together, when this doesn't happen Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  29. 29. Promote OpenDocument!!! Remember the comparison between proprietary attachments and smoking The OpenDocument Format (ODF) is the only viable alternative to the .doc, .ppt and ..xls files which are the main, if not only, real reason of the Microsoft monopoly on the desktop Imposing inside the University the adoption of OpenDocument office files is the best and most effective strategy to educate all students to the benefits of open digital technologies To know more: www.opendocumentfellowship.com Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  30. 30. Saturday is Software Freedom Day!!! worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS): To educate the worldwide public about of the benefits of using high quality FOSS in education, in government, at home, and in business In order to empower all people to freely connect, create and share in a digital world that is participatory, transparent, and sustainable. Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  31. 31. “Software-neutral” teaching: a true story In November 2005, the Italian Conference of University Rectors started to promote on its website “students' use of MS products, available at steep discounts...” Eleven days later, thanks to protests from teachers and students, it “added a page on "Free and Open Source SW (FOSS): a fundamental tool for Italian Universities" All details at www.linuxjournal.com/article/8739 Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  32. 32. Spread awareness of digital rights Promote study and discussion in all faculties of the Hague Declaration: Considering that all countries are moving, at different rates and from different starting points, towards a society in which full and effective participation in government and society, and access to public services, education and opportunity, are increasingly dependent upon access to electronic communications... We call on all governments to: 1. Procure only information technology that implements free and open standards; 2. Deliver e-government services based exclusively on free and open standards; 3. Use only free and open digital standards in their own activities. www.digistan.org/hague-declaration:en Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  33. 33. Teach to look at people, not computer users Software affects everybody in every moment, not just those who use it Therefore: Don't let students stop at converting everybody to FOSS because it is: stable, customizable, safer, open, cheaper etc... Teach them to: ask people in need “which concrete problems do you already have today?” figure out how software can help solve those problems and do it Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  34. 34. Protect cultural diversity and local traditions Unesco declaration on cultural diversity, 2001: ... cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature. (Art. 1) It widens the range of options open to everyone; it is one of the roots of development, understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence (Art. 3) Its defence is an ethical imperative, inseparable from respect for human dignity. (Art. 4) All persons have therefore the right to express themselves and to create and disseminate their work in the language of their choice, and particularly in their mother tongue; (Art 5) heritage in all its forms must be preserved, enhanced and handed on to future generations (Art. 7) Source: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001271/127160m.pdf Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  35. 35. Protect cultural diversity and local traditions Through Free Software, of course!! And also cheap hardware (more on this later) Organize campaigns in the field to capture recipes, legends, songs, traditional medicine Using, if necessary, self built digital recorders like those of LiteracyBridge.org Then index and publish everything online in free formats Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  36. 36. Open knowledge, of course Open access to raw research data and educational material, research papers (this topic is only mentioned here because it is widely discussed in other talks of this congress) Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  37. 37. Educate to digital communication Handing down computers and connectivity to students without also giving them a vision is not enough to guarantee that they (and society) will receive any meaningful benefit from the experience Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  38. 38. Never forget a clear purpose Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end,… We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate. HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walden, 1854 Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  39. 39. Slacktivism is the new apathy Problem: something is wrong in the world First step: start a Facebook Group Second and Final step: feel good without leaving home Slacktivism: “feel-good online activism that has zero political or social impact” http://neteffect.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/05/19/the_brave _new_world_of_slacktivism Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/69805768@N00/3292899689/ Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  40. 40. Real communication, action in the real world Does this mean that social networks, instant messaging and so on are intrinsically and always evil? Absolutely no, of course!!! It just means that they are so powerful that it would be a real shame to use them only to feel good and kill time ● "perhaps the greatest service that virtual reality can give to today’s culture is the recovery of reality" Fr J. Fox, SDB, “Digital Virtues” Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  41. 41. Fight the myth that just being connected is good the promise is often made to place "a computer in every village", scatter "info kiosks" throughout the state or nation, or establish "universal computer-based education."...without any real assessment of local needs. They take for granted that providing computers and/or Web connections will (without additional efforts) provide increased social justice, enable local peoples to sell their products in the world market, feed the hungry, meet unmet medical needs, and so on. Source: Bridging the Digital Divide: Lessons from India, www.mit.edu/people/kken/PAPERS/Intro_Sage.html Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  42. 42. Take advantage of open hardware!!! Why restrict yourself to building new virtual worlds when it is becoming cheaper and easier every year to build your tools to make THIS world a better place? There is plenty of useful hardware to build which is much simpler than it looks, relatively cheap, can and should be carried on by non technical students!!! Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  43. 43. FPGAs: build your own Integrated Circuits “microprocessors are always and only microprocessors: singlepurpose hardware that is capable only of executing (relatively slowly) instructions in one machine language. An FPGA, instead, becomes whatever hardware you need.” www.linuxjournal.com/article/10330 Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  44. 44. Arduino is what you want it to be “Arduino (www.arduino.cc) is an opensource electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. can be built by hand or purchased preassembled; the software can be downloaded for free. The hardware reference designs (CAD files) are available under an open-source license Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  45. 45. Arduino is useful to everybody Garduino: a gardening Arduino Waters my plants whenever their soil moisture level drops below a predefined value. Turns on grow lights, but only when it's dark out and only long enough to make the plants get 15 hours of total light (sunlight + supplemental light) daily. Alerts me if the temperature around the plants drops below 50 degrees. http://garduino.dirtnail.com/ www.instructables.com/id/Garduino_Gardening_Arduino/ automated hydroponics with arduino: www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1237559923 Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  46. 46. Open source, cheap electronic whiteboards Commercial products can cost 18K Euro But you can build your own with a Nintendo Wii or similar home made remote and a Gnu/Linux computer http://unixsadm.blogspot.com/2007/12/turn-wii-into-whiteboard-or-tracking.html http://johnnylee.net/projects/wii/ Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  47. 47. Above all... make sure that students (and teachers!!!) really understand why this happens and why it should always be this way Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  48. 48. Conclusions All the data we need to live decently are, or will soon be, in digital format: therefore, closed/secrets data formats are never, ever acceptable. This is not negotiable Software is ubiquitous and saves lots of money, but only if you use it to solve the problems you have and you use it the one that does what YOU need and doesn't steal YOUR data We must never escape in cyberspace, but use it to improve the real space we keep living in. Free Software is not gratis, but is modifiable at will and works for you like you want, instead of the other way around, so it is the only one that can be used as above Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  49. 49. Conclusions (2) Digital awareness is a matter of civic education, not software engineering. If the goal is to fight social exclusion and promote education and human development: Universities, especially in developing Countries, have a crucial role in these spaces As shown in these slides, what they can and should do goes far beyond teaching of software programming, and is in no way limited to technical faculties and classes Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved
  50. 50. Final thoughts What do you think? I want to hear from you!!! Questions? Contact info: ● marco@digifreedom.net ● http://mfioretti.com ● http://stop.zona-m.net Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) http://mfioretti.com http://digifreedom.net September 17th, 2009, UASD Santo Domingo COSECOL Some rights reserved

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