No licence fees Unrestrictive licences Doing more Control of data Empowering end users - bottom up
Whist there are going to be relatively few teachers or students who will have the technical expertise or the inclination to read through the source code, the fact that the opportunity's there might well be important for a few sixth form computing students, and perhaps the members of a programming club lower down the school. Being able to get to the source code potentially gives students a far better understanding of how software works and of how it gets written: something which my own Year 6 pupils got quite excited about. More importantly, access to the source code allows school techies to tailor the software to the specific needs of the school; it's this adaptability of open source software which is its unique, er, selling point. For me, this is at the core of why open source software matters for schools.
This is a real benefit for schools. Being able to give students CD-ROMs or memory sticks with copies of all the software used in schools is tremendously liberating - no longer does a teacher need to worry about home computers not having particular programs, having the wrong version, or having pirated copies. Whilst not a complete solution, this also goes a long way to addressing the digital divide. The link between children's informal use of technology at home and formal use inside the school curriculum also becomes a closer, stronger one.
Open source software is often developed though a community working together on a project, and it's great when schools that are using open source start participating in that community. A lot of open source programs now have a modular structure, so it's relatively easy for programmers to slot in additional functionality. Sharing these with the other users of a program provides just one way of working in partnership with a worldwide community; other ways of contributing to a project include helping with documentation, spotting or fixing bugs, helping with interface design or suggesting features.
Open Source Deployment: Lessons from Schools
Open Source Deployment Lessons from schools <ul><li>Miles Berry </li></ul><ul><li>Open Source Schools </li></ul>
Some of the Barriers <ul><li>Too much money! </li></ul><ul><li>Managed Services </li></ul><ul><li>Risk aversion </li></ul><ul><li>Perception </li></ul><ul><li>Network managers </li></ul><ul><li>Compatibility </li></ul>