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Monday, June 18, 2018

Explore, create and collaborate website.

A few supporters of open source, do so because all products are free. We know that in some families, countries, schools etc….the financial limitations could inhibit students from advancing in their career. We would help any student who because of money problems, cannot study. We do so because we firmly believe that education is the best investor. It is the best guarantee for the future of our planet earth.

On the other hand, once one enjoys the services or products of the open source world, one realises that other people have worked for long, tedious hours in other to offer the final product. The open source is great not because the people participating are the best in the world. Yet the fact that everything is out in the open, anybody can participate, suggest, examine, change and/or rewrite. The propriety programs are made up of a very limited group of people. They never reveal how they built the program. The users are not allowed to tinker with the program. You are expected to pay and use it as the programmer intended when he/she started to code it.

The open source is not simply a provider of alternative programs. You are not expected to pay and obey! It encourages people to criticise and change the way a program works. In other words it needs people who are very active and do give their valid contribution.

In the education department we are aware that most teachers have never been introduced in the sharing aspect of the open source. Some teachers are too jealous to share their lessons worldwide. They always point out that some might take advantage of their valuable work.

Surprisingly one notes that they have become educators because others have chosen to share their information, knowledge, expertise etc....!

The educators’ role is not to be let by others but by trying to do one’s part in order to change the world! If the others are not following the rules or are behaving badly, the educator does not change his/her way of life!!

We are aware that the change in the mentality of the educators does not happen overnight! It won’t change just because of one article. Yet we do believe that the open source is giving a great helping hand in changing the behaviour of educators, students and parents. The more we share, the better the world will become.

One positive thought is that social networks have introduced an important aspect in our lives – that of sharing thoughts, photos, discussing material, opinions etc….Let’s hope that schools and educational institutions will build on this social feeling in order to enhance teaching!

Today we are presenting the explore, create and collaborate website. We leave it in your hands to get to know how to use it correctly without indicating any additional help (ie to learn how to collaborate with other people).

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Kolibri: a free and open education for all


Education is very expensive. This is for many reasons: books, courses, tuition etc.. 
We've been offering open source material in order to make it possible for all to 
educate themselves. Today we are presenting Kolibri. Kolibri makes high quality 
education technology available in low-resource communities such as rural school, refugee camps, orphanages, non-formal school systems and prison systems. 

We print language learning books, distribute digital language learning materials, build tailor-made products, print smart notebooks and more; all our products are to inspire the teachers and students to achieve their potential in learning a foreign language. That’s what we care most. We produce an extensive range of top-notch educational materials including readers and activities, picture dictionaries, online learning materials in various sizes, formats, and color, as well as tailor-made products to meet the customized needs of students and teachers.

Kolibri installers, updates, and content can be downloaded once to a device in an area that has an Internet connection.

That "seeded" device can then share new content and updates with other devices over an offline local network.

To reach the most remote communities, a device can be carried by foot to share installers, updates, and content with other devices over local networks.
To facilitate broad, low-cost adoption, Kolibri is designed to run on as many devices and operating systems as possible, leveraging existing legacy hardware or low-cost off-the-shelf devices. This includes Windows, Linux and OSX. The cost of Android tablets is plummeting, so we're also building Kolibri to run standalone as an Android app.

We developed special processes to package online learning materials to be taken offline. One of our innovations is a video compression technique that convert the pen strokes and objects in a blackboard-style video into scalable vector objects. In our tests, a 250MB video can now be compressed into just a single megabyte, while retaining most of the original quality. This reduces the time and cost needed to download a large set of videos, and allows a large amount of content to be stored on a small, low-cost device.

Track educational growth for individuals and groups of learners accurately and easily, even in informal educational contexts. Kolibri comes with tools such as a coach dashboard, exam creation, exercises, assignment of content for differentiated instruction, and a recommendation tool that displays useful and relevant next steps based on a learner's history, progress and goals.



Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Modular and Open Source Router is Being Crowdfunded



The router is the gateway for many people to the internet. We’re all in favour of open source. Most of the routers we find on the market are propriety. How about an open source one? There is a bunch of individuals who are trying to find funds for such project.

It’s important that we do support open source if we truly believe in freedom! It has been proved beyond any doubt that open source supports 100% freedom for its users. Other propriety programs and routers can’t guarantee that because they don’t disclose their code which might contain anything.

More people, after the Facebook scandal, are becoming aware of how many people are watching us behind our backs, registering every movement of our keyboard in order to sell that information to the first buyer!

Educating people is not simply helping them overcome exams, but first and foremost training them to be independent, in thought and action. Those choosing open source are the ones who are not afraid to learn new actions and practices for the sake of freedom of thought and expression. 

This router supports open VPN server. It has parental control features and an internet measuring tool. 

Let’s give a free world to the young people who are growing up today!

The link is found here.

If you need more information about other open source routers then go here


Monday, May 14, 2018

Free Resources: OpenStax


Time is precious. Today time has become more precious because we live in the age of buttons and the answer we’re looking for pops up in a split of a second.

When preparing lessons, tips, comments etc… about lessons, we notice that most educators simply repeat what others have been already doing for years. On the other hand, those who are responsible for resources are not in contact with the real learning situation of the class.

All these concerns can be diminished if something like openstax becomes more popular amongst teachers, parents and students. Finally they can adopt, edit and change the textbooks!!!

Openstax is 100% free. Any author can change the resources found according to his situation! There is no need to invent the wheel as there are already some resources which are commonly shared! They are written by professional content developers who are experts in their fields. Besides these resources undergo a rigorous peer review before becoming available for the general public. 

If one wants to know more just go to: openstax


Sunday, April 29, 2018

E-portfolio: Mahara


Exams have become part and parcel of any education system. But is it just? An exam is just one time photo! How many talents which students achieve or master, yet they can’t show them during exams? A portfolio is an example where a student can show many skills which are not easily tested during exams!

Nowadays we speak of an e-portfolio. Today we present Mahara: an open source modular e-portfolio system. It can easily be integrated with other educational programs or Learning Management System (LMS).

In one link one can find several links to look for particular help. One finds a musical tune of Mahara too! Link to Mahara. If you prefer more youtube videos for help then go here. More youtube videos can be found here. The best advantage of Mahara is that it is student centered. A student can simply not only present the final product but present as well the struggles and challenges faced during the duration of the action taken.



Sunday, April 15, 2018

Rogo – An e-Assessment Management System

One of the objectives in teaching is to have a reliable assessment of students. Students and parents too would like to know the true level of students.

Can open source help in this area? Of course it can! Today we are presenting Rogo. Rogo is a leading e-assessment system that is scalable, secure, useable and extensible.

If you’re interested in quickly seeing a demo, then go to: https://rogo-demo.nottingham.ac.uk/demo/register.php.

If you want to download the open source license go to: https://bitbucket.org/rogoOOS/rog/get/6.4.1.zip

For documentation please go to: https://rogo-eassessment-docs.atlassian.net/

If one prefers Youtube videos then go to: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rogo+assessment.

If any educator would like to see any case studies, please go to: https://www.eciu.org/case-study/rogo-an-e-assessment-management-system.












Monday, April 2, 2018

Going for open software in schools



We’ve been writing about open source software for some years now. We’re making more popular, programs or operating systems, which otherwise would have been unknown by the majority of our readers. This is because other companies have lots of money which could be spent in advertising. Open Source does not have enough money to do the same kind of advertising. Hence it relies on the good will of those who have tried it and were satisfied 100%

What about changing completely and going for open source? In some countries it’s still not possible as it is centralised by government or an education department. In other countries they are truly free to roam about and go for a different choice as long as it helps the education of students.

We are presenting the case of a school which was very successful in going for open source but a simple google search would lead to more examples. In all cases, there is no need of a consensus from a large majority. In many cases it all started with just one single person who was totally convinced of the need for change in our IT choices! Read this.

In a summary we are going to outline some advantages for open source.

Open source gives the power to students, teachers and parents to change, fine-tune or re-program according to the school needs. This has two aspects: it gives students the power to change programs according to their wishes. In the meantime they would be preparing themselves for the working world as they would have some practical experience to when it comes working in the IT department. Lastly, any program used would be more efficient, because if not changes can be made.

Open Source gives the students the opportunity to study programs and learn how they are programmed as nothing is hidden! On the other hand students will only learn as long as they have a hands on experience. Open Source provides enough hands on experience. Propriety programs would not allow anyone to tinker with their program! Besides, if the company goes bankrupt, nobody can continue their work. This is the typical case of being locked out! In contrast, Open Source programs can be continued or adapted by anybody in the world!

As an educator, I hate to use programs which are costly or which are not available to students. We use open source, so if the student wants to use the same program, there are no restrictions (financially or legally)! Students can download open source programs for free and as many times they wish to. Practically it’s useless to keep an extra copy because most of them change frequently and there is no limit as to how many times one can download.

The biggest hurdle is that when it comes to IT most people are very lazy. They are used to some programs and they feel threatened if the IT department changes their favourite programs! Others, never thought that a pc could work without their famous operating system! It was a truly complete surprise if other unknown operating system run their pc!

Another hurdle would be that the teachers responsible for change would need a lot of time to select the right programs and to become familiar with. Ideally they would be financially compensated.