Conference on Open Source Software in Education

September 26, 2005

Whereas Microsoft keeps the code of it’s software a big secret, developers of Open Source Software don’t see the need for secrecy. They provide people a license to use ánd modify the software code. And it is often free of charge.

In the last two years Open Source Software has made an increasing impact in education. On November 14 and 15 a major conference on Open Source for education in Europe is taking place at the Open University of the Netherlands.

Better quality
Open Source Software provides better quality software, it increases pedagogic choice, enhances flexibility and it facilitates new business and social models. Following the success of Open Source software the idea is being extended into other areas including open science and open books.

European projects
Two European Commission e-Learning programme sponsored projects, SIGOSSEE and JOIN have been investigating the potential of Open Source and providing services for educational institutions wishing to implement Open Source products. Together with the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) which has a long track record of innovation in e-learning, they organize this conference.

Stephen Downes
Key note speakers at the conference include Stephen Downes from the National Research Council of Canada. The conference focuses on a number of major issues in Open Source in education in Europe including:

    • Learning with Open Source
    • Open standards for e-learning
    • Sustainability strategies – managing open source
    • Open content, issues and implications

Amazing response
The announcement of this conference has been very well received. Graham Attwell from the SIGOSSEE project: “We have been amazed by the response to the conference. Open source is still a new idea in education. But we have presentations and demonstrations from developers and researchers form all over the world. Over twenty different open source applications will be demonstrated at the conference and more than thirty research papers presented.”

According to Fred de Vries from the Open University of the Netherlands is this conference probably the largest gathering yet of researchers and developers in Open Source in education. “Open Source is set to become a major trend for schools and universities in the next few years. The conference will provide an opportunity for educationists to see the range of Open Source products on offer and for developers to get together to consider how they can cooperate in the future”. Alexandra Toedt from the JOIN project urges participants to register early. “We anticipate the conference being full”, she said.

More details of the conference together with on-line registration can be found at the conference web site