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Open Source and Free Software in Education

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Presentation on theme: "Open Source and Free Software in Education"— Presentation transcript:

1 Open Source and Free Software in Education
Rich Fielding IT Director Regional School District 13

2 What I hope to cover Brief descriptions of Open Source Software
Free Software and the GNU GPL Not the kind of free that normally comes to mind Free Software The kind you were thinking about before, $$$ Special focus on Google Apps for Education

3 Is it difficult? Yes and No
Yes – some aspects of open source require advanced knowledge of programming languages such as C+ and Perl…that said No – there are many programs that install on Windows and Mac just like any other program No – most of the major projects have detailed instructions and wikis developed to support implementation

4 Open Source Software
Any software developed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). IE: Linux, Mozilla Firefox and others to be discussed

5 The GNU Project Principally sponsored by the Free Software Foundation. The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop a complete Unix-like operating system which is free software: the GNU system. The name “GNU” is a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not Unix”

6 The GNU GPL While the GNU kernel is still incomplete, the GNU General Public License is widely used for other GNU and non-GNU projects Write this down: Has enabled the “Open Source Community” by allowing input on projects from volunteers who contribute on all levels.

7 How Open Source Projects work
Sites dedicated to hosting Open Source projects like where thousands of projects are worked on Software distributions(versions) are available to download as source and compiled for a variety of Operating Systems. Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and Unix

8 How Open Source Projects work
Programmers test and tweak the software, uploading changes or patches to the code to the developers website. The developers take the modifications along with others and incorporate them into their next distribution, or build. Some software apps have daily or weekly builds depending on how many resources they have

9 Web 2.0 Apps The Web as a platform – Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking, Video Sharing Requires that websites (front end) interconnect to live databases (back end) that can then record and display data. The Tools – Apache, PHP, MySQL, and phpMyAdmin.

10 Currently in use at District 13
These three packages require a web server that runs Apache, PHP and MySQL. All are open source and free and are found on hundreds of web hosts. Moodle – “Blackboard” type web based course management system - Wordpress – Blog and website tool for teachers’ websites. Host it yourself or will do it for free. Joomla – Website Content Management system for our school newspaper. -

11 Apache - Apache Web Server runs 65% of the world’s web servers. Cross Platform Not exactly an Open Source model – a “meritocracy” The Apache Group(95’ish), later the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) 1999.

12 MySQL - The Database It holds the data. Kind of boring.

13 PHP - One of many scripting languages, including Perl, Java, Python, Ruby and more. Can be embedded into html. Connects the html to the database phpMyAdmin – the tool to administer the database

14 Building Your Own Web Server
A computer – PC or Mac Operating System – Windows 2000 or XP, Mac OS X or Linux Apache Host HTML websites – use NVU Add PHP and MySQL for more capabilities Highly recommend a hardware firewall

15 NVU NVU – Pronounced N-View is a full fledged WYSIWYG html editor with FTP capabilities.

16 Moodle Course Management system that requires Apache, PHP and MySQL.
Can be used for one teacher or an entire university. Extremely well resourced Open Source Community, Lots of documentation, not too easy to get setup

17 Wordpress
Another extremely well supported application Very easy to get setup. Lots of free plugins and themes Free hosting from

18 Joomla and Drupal and
Extremely powerful content management systems Very flexible Not as easy to get setup Lots of free and commercial add-ons.

19 Others Currently in use at District 13
Koha – library automation system that we are still implementing. Based on PERL, also free. New Beta is not always better. Tux4Kids – a suite of programs including easy to use programs like TuxPaint as well as games that reinforce simple math, typing and others. Seashore – more advanced image editing tool for Mac OS X

20 Google Apps for Education
Primary Features – (Gmail) Uses your own domain name, or sub-domain. Our students addresses are 7+ GB of storage space per user Web Based Unlimited Number of Accounts FREE FOR SCHOOLS! Compared to $75/user for comparable business edition

21 Google Docs Word, Excel and Powerpoint compatible programs.
Online, live, collaboration on documents with other users. Upload/download documents and files

22 Google Docs Screen Shot

23 Sample Doc using collaboration

24 Document Revision History

25 Additional Features Calendar – Allowed Google Sites – Not Allowed
Google Chat – Not Allowed Web Based Management –

26 Downside Web based administration has major limitations with regard to mass changes. archiving by Postini is expensive, though comparable to any other archiving system. Security is difficult to achieve blacklist/whitelist issues.

27 Contact Info Rich Fielding – Websites to check out:

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