Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Red Hat High

Greg DeKoenigsberg:

Free software is good enough for schools.

As users of free software, we know it. We use free software every day, and we derive great value from it. We understand the value of free software, and the value of the communities that create and sustain free software.

As free software continues to improve in quality, the struggle to increase the adoption of free software becomes a struggle to educate users. There are plenty of incredible free software applications out there, waiting to be discovered — not only for Linux, but for Windows and OS X as well. But what good does this software do, for the world in general and for schools in particular, if people don’t know it exists? Or worse yet: what if people think they know about free software, but presume that, because it’s freely available, it must not be any good?

This is the particular problem that Red Hat High was created to address. In this, its first iteration, Red Hat High is a weeklong summer residential camp for rising 8th and 9th grade students in Raleigh, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.

The immediate goal is to expose these particular kids to great free software tools — tools like Blender and Inkscape and Gimp and Audacity — and to teach the kids how to use these tools, in a collaborative way, to create amazing stuff.

The greater goal is to learn how kids use free software, and to apply those lessons in the real world.

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