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A K12 Educator’s Guide to Open Source Software

There’s a very cool project I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work on, this coming month. It’s pretty exciting to me, because it involves introducing elementary school children to free & open source software, particularly creative tools such as my dearly beloved Inkscape and Gimp.

Here’s a bit of a teaser: I put together a two-page guide on open source for K12 Educators as part of this project. You may download it as a PDF or read the excerpt below. I’m making it available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, so please feel to remix and redistribute it as you wish! (sans the Red Hat logo, of course, which is noted as being a registered trademark :) ) Inkscape source files for each page are available for your ease of remixing! :) (You’ll need free and open source fonts Junction and Comic Serif Pro so make sure you have those installed.)

Since this needed to be a single double-sided sheet of information, it’s been edited quite judiciously! A lot of great stuff has been left out here, but I think this is a sampling of the best-of-the-best of the resources out there. So if you’re a K12 educator looking for more information on open source but overwhelmed by the amount of info out there, I’m hoping this will be a good shortlist for you to start from!

That being said, of course, if you’ve got a great K12 Educator FLOSS resource in mind, please please please drop a note in the comments!! :)

Also, mad props to Karsten Wade for providing great pointers to many of the sites listed in the guide!


Resources

GENERAL/COMMUNITY

  • OPENSOURCE.COM EDUCATION CHANNEL

    A forum for discussing how the open source way can be put into practice to improve
    the world of education: for teachers, children, parents, professors, administrators,
    and anyone who wants to learn or teach.

  • K12 OPEN SOURCE WIKI

    A wiki with a lot of great information on open source in K12 classrooms, including a
    blog, application directory, lesson plans, and case studies.

  • STEVE HARGADON’S BLOG

    Prominent K-12 education and open source technology blogger.

  • NORTHWEST EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY CONSORTIUM OPEN OPTIONS

    An excellent site with tons of information about using open source software in the
    K12 classroom with examples and the results of a survey of K12 educators using
    open source, federally-funded and put together by the Northwest Educational
    Technology Consortium.

LEARNING MATERIALS

  • FLOSS MANUALS

    High-quality, free manuals for free & open source applications, many of which are
    useful in the classroom

  • OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

    Open Educational Resources are teaching and learning materials that you may freely
    use and reuse, without charge. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license
    that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared.

  • OPEN CLIP ART

    Catalog of public domain vector artwork, convenient for classroom usage.

CONNECT WITH OTHER OPEN SOURCE EDUCATORS

SPECIFIC APPLICATIONS OF INTEREST

  • ETOYS

    A rich authoring environment for kids with 2D and 3D graphics, images, text,
    particles, videos, and sounds. Developed as part of One Laptop Per Child.

  • SCRATCH

    Open source application that enables kids to create interactive stories, games, music,
    and art.

FINDING OPEN SOURCE APPLICATIONS

This resource is sponsored by


I’m hoping to post more information on this project at the end of this week… stay tuned :)

About Máirín Duffy

Máirín is a principal interaction designer at Red Hat. She is passionate about software freedom and free & open source tools, particularly in the creative domain: her favorite application is Inkscape. You can read more from Máirín on her blog at blog.linuxgrrl.com.

Discussion

11 thoughts on “A K12 Educator’s Guide to Open Source Software

  1. May I dare a pedestrian question? The sources are in SVG, so I assume you created the PDFs with inkscape, each file as a separate document and then joined them. How did you join them?
    For a recent project I had to to a similar thing and used ghostscript to join two Inkscape-made PDFs, unfortunately it didn’t support some advanced features and a blurred area became solid black, so I had to apply some invasive changes on the source (which was not made by me, I was just adapting a translation).

    Posted by Nicu | March 31, 2010, 4:26 am
    • I used PDFmod :) but, I tried to use Wilbur and the Inkscape mountain as SVGs and the blur filter came out weird that way, so I embedded PNGs of those icons :( So it’s not perfect!

      Posted by mairin | March 31, 2010, 8:01 am
  2. Hi,

    the osalt link is wrong, should be .com instead of .org

    BR
    Fredrik

    Posted by Fredrik Svensson | March 31, 2010, 5:22 am
    • Thank Fredrik!!! That’s a great catch! We haven’t produced them yet so I should be able to get that fix into the final version. :)

      Posted by mairin | March 31, 2010, 8:01 am
  3. Superb!

    Posted by Max | March 31, 2010, 10:31 am
  4. Two other great resources for educators wanting to use Open Source in their school are:

    – The Open Source School blog (http://theopensourceschool.blogspot.com/)
    where the principal, Mark Osborne, shares his experience building a New Zealand high school on Open Source software.

    – WikiEducator (http://wikieducator.org) where a community of teachers shares free content

    Posted by Francois Marier | March 31, 2010, 3:00 pm
  5. ETOYS existed long before OLPC.

    Posted by Sean McGrath | April 29, 2010, 12:39 am
  6. Nice, I will include these Pdfs in SchoolOS – Linux Distro for Indian Schools

    Posted by narendra | April 29, 2010, 9:08 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: K-12 Guide to Open Source Software « - April 3, 2010

  2. Pingback: A K12 Educator’s Guide to Open Source Software « Máirín Duffy « ATLA's Assistive Technology Blog - April 12, 2010

  3. Pingback: i, quaid › Nice round-up from Creative Commons of open source way content - April 19, 2010

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