WHY SCHOOLS MUST USE FOSS4G
This presentation will outline the reasons why schools should use Free GIS Software and how Education is now a priority for the Portuguese OSGeo community.
All the reasons why computer users should use free software can also apply to schools:
-it gives schools the freedom to copy and redistribute software, which saves schools money and helps narrow the digital divide.
-it enables students to better understand how software works, by reading and modifying the source code of the programs used in classes.
-it encourages students to use such software after graduation.
But the main reason is linked to moral issues. Teaching students to participate in free software communities is a hands-on lesson in citizenship which promotes and builds on the notion of a strong, capable, independent, cooperating and free society.
This vision inspired an initiative by a Portuguese community, aimed at supporting and encouraging different target groups in schools - School administrations, Educational coordinators, Teachers and Pupils - to adopt Free GIS Software.
The initiative began at the 2009 OSGeo Portuguese Local Chapter event, SASIG II, where the creation of a Workgroup dedicated to Education was proposed.
The Workgroup has rapidly established itself in the Portuguese GIS community by using the OSGeo WIKI page, Mailling List, and IRC channels. http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Ensino_/_Educa%C3%A7%C3%A3o
The first task was to create a list of Portuguese case studies in all kinds of teaching institutions where Free GIS Software has been used for teaching. Teachers were invited to promote their experiences on a wiki page list. http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Ensino_/_Projectos_/_Ensino_com_SASIG
The workgroup also implemented a Moodle platform to stimulate the production/sharing of course material. http://edu.sigaberto.org
The workgroup's first public appearance was at the University of Coimbra (24th February), during a GISVM presentation, where members simulated the use of Free GIS Software during a class. http://gisvm.com
Ricardo Pinho - CM Oliveira de Azeméis