Open Source and Equity in Schools

I have just learned that my presentation entitled “Educational Technology and Equity in Today’s Schools” has been accepted at the Annual NYSCATE conference. Last year I presented a topic on how to save money with open source software at Ed Tech Day 2009 and this is a follow-up to that topic. The main thrust of the presentation will be on how the cost of computing is now mostly in the cost of the software, not the computer. To close the digital divide schools should embrace open source software because it eliminates up to 50% of the cost to students and their families.

One component of ’embracing’ open source is using open source productivity applications that are cross platform. This allows the schools to not ‘throw away’ their investment in OS X or Windows while at the same time reducing the cost for software. It is a ‘baby step’ towards going totally open source. In the coming weeks I will write more about the presentation as I flesh it out.

What I also find amazing is that there are other presentations being given about open source software:

  • Save Money by Deploying Linux and Open Source Software
  • Collaboration using Open Source Server Applications
  • Teach Research Skills with Firefox
  • Using Free and Open Source Tools to Teach Digital Citizenship
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6 Responses to Open Source and Equity in Schools

  1. Rodney Campbell says:

    I’d be very interested in hearing more about your presentation, as this is a subject I’ve been working on with Further Education Colleges in the UK.

  2. I look forward to seeing more posts on this. It sounds like a great talk you’ll have.

    One question: Isn’t the main cost of computing for an organization the people maintaining the systems?

    • Charles Profitt says:

      Great question. The cost of computing for an organization is definitely the cost of the people maintaining the systems. For the organization the real question is does the cost of maintenance go up when free and open source software is used? In terms of equity though the cost that one is concerned with is the cost to the ‘home user’ that is attending that institution. If the institution only allows iMovie that forces a person to buy a Mac. If the institution only allows Microsoft Word for documents then that person has to buy MS Office. That is an increased cost for both over free and open source products. That increased cost ‘raises’ the cost of computing for the home user.

  3. Polprav says:

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

  4. I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case, great info…I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work! 🙂

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