Talking about open education (Thursday)

October 23, 2007 § Leave a comment

I am scheduled to give this talk about open education in South Africa at the Seneca open source symposium this Thursday. The general gist of my talk is:

South Africa has tremendous potential, with a new generation of
young people poised to become global leaders and innovators.
Unfortunately, most of these young people are attending schools that
are underfunded, lack teachers and have poor access to educational
materials. Tapping into South Africa’s potential will require dramatic
improvements — and innovations — in how education works.
The question is: can open source thinking spark these innovations?
Would free, editable textbooks for every grade make a difference? Could
students teach logic and analysis skills to each other? Can schools and
local entrepreneurs team up to make sure students have access to the
Internet? These are some of the questions that South Africa’s
Shuttleworth Foundation is asking.
This talk will provide an overview of three Shuttleworth Foundation
initiates that apply open source thinking to the challenge of radically
improving education in South Africa.

This will be mashup of my Ubuntu Live presentation, the paper I did with Philipp and the emerging Cape Town Declaration. Oh, and bits from my talk on the broader meaning of open.

David Eaves and I are also planning to convene a lunchtime conversation on open source community management. The blurb we’ve written goes like this:

Open source. Open communities?
What make open source communities work? What are the biggest challenges
for community managers? Join us for lunch on day 2 of FSOSS to dig into
these questions. Hosted by blogger David Eaves and Mark Surman from the
Shuttleworth Foundation.

We’re doing this partly because we’re simply interested in community management, and partly because we have an instinct that open source community building techniques also have alot to offer outside the software domain.

You can still register for the Seneca Free Software and Open Source Symposium online. It’s a great event. If you are in Toronto and have some flex time on Thursday and Friday, it’s worth attending. Hell, I’ll even offer to give you a drive from downtown if you need one.

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