The learning I am experiencing in this course is much richer than I had expected. I expected to learn a lot about OS programs, and their potential use in educational settings. I also expected to learn a little about the OS community, but I expected that to be background knowledge for the focus on specific programs. I had no idea how many concepts from the OS community are relevant to education, and how many connections between the two are relatively unexplored or unexamined. With this unexpected richness, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the work I have done so far, and the work I plan to do in the remainder of the course.
I will be reviewing an article by Ian Douglas on the relevance of software design issues to instructional design. Douglas is one of the people I admire, with a deep understanding of technological issues like software engineering and a deep understanding of education as well. The next few articles will cover the kind of topics that we expected from the outset like the use of Linux in classrooms and districts, and the use of specific OS applications in education. As I have continued to look over the literature about OS and education, the initial investment in understanding licenses has proven to be time well spent. I understand the licensing decisions described in numerous articles, and recognize the impacts of less clearly articulated licensing decisions on OS education projects.
I am working through a longer book right now, Opening Up Education (440 pages). I was not sure I would read the whole thing, but it is proving quite relevant so I will finish it and review it in the next week or two. I believe the last formally reviewed book will be The Success of Open Source by Steven Weber, although I have picked up a number of other books for continued study (and pleasure reading): Just for Fun, the biography of Linus Torvalds; Free Software Free Society, essays by Richard Stallman; and The Mythical Man Month by Frederick Brooks.
I will write a literature review to synthesize what I have read and learned, and I will do a small in-class implementation. I would still like to synthesize some OS concepts in a visual format, probably using VUE, and make a resource list. The second interview will probably be with a member of the school district’s technology committee, to get another perspective on issues raised in the previous interview.
Finally, I hope to have time to outline an OS project of my own. I would like to develop a cross-platform reading log, perhaps designed with some educational theory as the groundwork. The whole project is well beyond the scope of this course, but I would like to lay out the functionality of the project in this course and leave the coding for rainy summer days.
I am enjoying the course immensely, and I hope the rhythm of reading and posting summaries are acceptable to you.