Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Open Minds Conference Presentation

I'm working on my proposal for the K-12 Open Minds Conference:

Schools write software. Not as much as universities or corporations, but individual teachers, schools, districts, regional and state departments all write software for their own use and have done so as long as they have had computers. Using COBOL, BASIC, Java, and C#; Filemaker, FoxPro, and Access; and now PHP, MySQL, Ruby, Perl and Python.

Schools use open source software; increasingly they write software with open source tools; but few have launched and maintained ongoing open source projects. Are schools ready to take this next step?

We shall address:

  • Rationales and motivations for open sourcing your code.
  • Costs and benefits of an open source release.
  • Determining if you can and should open source an existing application.
  • Building a new open source project from the ground up.
  • Simplifying the process of choosing a license.
  • Setting up open source development infrastructure.
  • Standard practices in open source development.

  • Collaboration and funding beyond your institution.

That seems kind of short, but I think I've made my point. Any suggestions to flesh out the details in the proposal?

2 comments:

Mr Jones said...

Interesting idea for a presentation Tom! Motivations and benefits are big ones - I remember thinking when I first set up an Open Source project that I would be getting a huge invisible army of coders lining up to help me - alas it's not as easy as that :)

D Holton said...

Sounds like it will be a great conference.

You might want to mention the Eduforge project for hosting their software: http://eduforge.org/

Also, for those teachers who have software ideas but perhaps not the ability to develop them (yet), there are options like learning to use easier development tools (everything from scratch to processing to python). You can teach yourself using things like Guzdial's media composition course using jython:
http://coweb.cc.gatech.edu/mediaComp-plan

Another option is to team up with programmers and designers at a local college or business: that's what this course at Brown University does:
http://www.cs.brown.edu/courses/cs092/
and perhaps some other courses listed at the L2TD project:
http://l2td.org/display/L2TD/Courses

Of course another option is getting the K-12 kids themselves to help with development.