I made my travel arrangements for UDS today. I am honored and extremely grateful to have received a sponsorship. I am excited to have a rare opportunity to see, first hand, how the Ubuntu community moves itself forward; to be able to offer my opinions and listen to those of others.
When I speak about Ubuntu and FOSS at educational technology events I always highlight the ‘process’ and how students can be a part of that process. When involved with FOSS projects students have a rare opportunity not afforded to them with proprietary software products. They can learn from experts and help produce software that is used by real people. Producing a class project in a closed eco-system does not give students real world experience nor the vast array of experts that a FOSS project does. Attending UDS will allow me to see this process in-person. I can not even imagine how the experience will help me to better explain this to others in the future.
I will be conducting a hands-on FOSS lab and giving a one hour presentation at NYSCATE 2010 for K-12 educators. My hope is to take what I learn at UDS and weave that in to both sessions. My aim is to inspire educators to consider the possibilities. In K-12 education most think they have a choice between corporate focused Microsoft Windows and Consumer focused Apple OS X. Microsoft listens, but they listen to fortune 500 companies. Apple just tells folks what Jobs knows they want. For me the choice is not a good one. I want to let educators know that they have communities like Ubuntu and companies like Canonical that are open by definition. That they have the opportunity to request features and be taken seriously. They can build their own on top of the FOSS stack or modify existing FOSS. I imagine a world where large school districts, counties, states and countries hire a FOSS developers instead of paying license fees to proprietary vendors.