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Lecture series around free software in education for 2018

Jan. 3, 2018 · Dominik George

According to our goals, we want to foster the visibility of free software in education within the community. As part of that, we organise „schul-frei“, a common event booth for such projects. This is now extended by a lecture series around free software in education that we will hold at as many conferences as possible.

The current topics can always be found on the schul-frei page.

As of today, the series consists of two lectures:

Too young to rock'n'roll

Children use software. But can they be part of the FOSS community? What experiences are there? And what can projects do in order to be open for minors as contributors?

Especially in the IT area, the age at which children become users gets lower every year, and children want to (and should) be involved at designing that environment. Of course there is free software for a young target group, like educational software or games. Teckids e.V. is a youth organisation around free software that aims at making children and adolescents an active part of the community. The first point of this discussion is why young users should actually be contributors as well. Apart from that, free software can only live through community contributions, and projects strive to keep the barriers for becoming a contributor relatively low. Platforms like GitHub ease the first steps towards submitting bug reports or feature requests and contributing patches. But a part of the community, namely minors, still have a hard time contributing to their favourite projects, e.g. educational software or games. What legal barriers modern tools impose and what projects can do to also welcome the youngest contributors is the topic of this talk.

Kids and schools and instant messaging

The level at which children start to use smart phones, computers and online services gets lower and lower. While even babies use learning and game apps today, schools and peers of older children impose a real technology bondage, especially in the use of instant messaging. It is imposed by peers and other students as well as teachers. Unfortunately, proprietary and insecure services, like WhatsApp, are chosen most of the time. Together with children and adolescents, we have analysed what free alternatives would have to offer to be attractive for minors and what projects can do to achieve these goals.