One of the reasons I am so drawn to Ubuntu and an open source philosophy is that it reflects my own philosophy of education. That learning is a shared experience, it is collaborative and it happens in relationship. Because of that it makes sense for me to use Ubuntu and open source software as opposed to other operating systems and software that are not collaborative.

In open source, people who develop software and programs allow and expect other people to see the code that was used to create them as well as to make changes to it.

Anyone can use open source program code to make their own ‘new’ programs or just to tweak it to be more to their liking.

With companies like Microsoft and Apple, they don’t allow access to their program code precisely because they don’t want people to make their own programs based on it. If the code for itunes was made publicly available then Apple’s fear is that they will make less money as others began to make itunes-like applications.

Open resources are free, of course donations are always welcome :). This makes technology resources more accessible to more people, thus leveling the playing field for students and schools with different access to funding. If you are teaching a photography class you do not need to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on obtaining site licenses for programs like photoshop. You can get similar programs for free. I use the GIMP. Heck, if you want you can even challenge your students to download the GIMP source code and try to make it better! Talk about being creative!

In my classroom I encourage sharing, borrowing, creating, supporting, collaborating, and questioning. All aspects of open source philosophy. So it makes sense for me to use open resources in my classroom, in my home.

But what does that look like?

The next few posts will be about answering that question:

In the meantime, take a look at these sites to learn more about open resources and education.

SchoolForge.net – Education software for schools: free software, open source

CanOpenER – Canadian Open Source Education and Research.

How the Open Source Movement Has Changed Education: 10 Success Stories

Edubuntu– Ubuntu’s solution for students, teachers, classrooms, and schools