Went to a great professional development about open source in education.
Open for Education – VITTA PD

Keynote speaker: Pia Waugh

Foundations of Openness

Need to maintain the openness of of digital data. Need to make sure that a student in yr 12 can still open documents they wrote in yr 1.

How does commercial licensing limit the development of technology? It is up to our law makers to make sure laws are reflecting the changes in technology. Look at the copyrighting of DNA!

If we hoard the specialisations, knowledge can be lost. Lock down of data: Video, music, software. Spyware getting in the way of communication. Lowest common denominator is financially support which dumb down the technology.

Pool of knowledge that has enormous potential become inaccessible.

Open source for an Open society. Need to change the thinking of our students – the need for openness.

An open platform gives:

Open Source > Transparency
The issues: if it is proprietary software is held tightly then in is impossible to determine

Open Standards > Sustainability
National archives has to constantly re save data into new formats

Open Government > Participatory

Open Knowledge > Accessible
Are we teaching a product rather than a concept?

Open Market > Supported

Openness > Innovation
Leverage cumulative and global knowledge. Can use existing code to adapt to specific needs. Huge community on the open source environment.

In learning we develop to be more adaptable

The Open Road – Donna Benjamin

Open source enables participation in the ever evolving ICT

Sugar -constructivist computing. http://www.sugarlabs.org/ – linux based system for teaching.

OLPC around the world. (One Laptop per Child)

Creative collaboration with teachers develops new uses not envisaged by the developers.

OLPC changed the paradigm of what using a PC was to be. This is said to have inspired Netbooks. But these have changed as the governments have taken them up and Microsoft has got there finger in! (this last is my comment not Donna’s)

Free Software for Schools Catalogue

ISTE nets international version of VELs and gives International Standards.

Check out the Cape Town declaration.

Web publishing

Why blog?

Gets the students out there. Employers are more likely to Google a name, if students have a web presence that demonstrates their abilities and adds to their portfolio.

Blogs offer an authentic and rich teaching tool.

Internet Safety – Do you have a Online Publishing Policy specifically?

Google aggregate tool Google reader is a really good reader for RSS. Categorises and then files them away as you read posts.

Chat with Ann McGrath have seen her posts from Oz-teachers
We talked about Intranets and file management she suggested looking at:
box.net for file share and Stixy.com collaboration. I have not heard of either so will be investigating these.

Open source office – Mark Richardson
Other than having Open Office on show, this really wasn’t much of a session. Mark did not seem all that familiar with the software and did not really give much insight into it. We were given time to have a play, but it was pretty clear that Mark had not had much experience with it himself.

Marks webpage will be of use though:
www.ictedservices.com go to Open Source
Need to investigate jing which allows you to make movies of screen movements to use for teaching how to use.

Other useful software Mark suggested

Camstudio another screen capturing movie tool

debut in the same vain

In a discussion about some o the limitations of Open Office Calc with modelling functions from data Mark suggested gnumeric which I will have to have a close look at.

Open for Education and open source to VELs
– Donna Benjamin – Paula Christophersen – Mark Richardson

Paula spoke first and introduced how she and VCAA sees the ICT strands
ICT dimensions should be underpinned by the following:

Visualising thinking – developing understandings – working tool – moves the learner from where they are to where we want them to be.
Creating – mechanism for demonstrating those understandings
Communicating – dimension for sharing understandings with class mates and teachers, parents and the wider community

Visualising Thinking

tools for the mind- periodic table for visualising thinking
tools that help represent abstract information
tools that depict relationships between facts and concepts

Concept maps are a great tool: freemind

VARK is a questionnaire that provides users with a profile of their learning preferences. These preferences are about the ways that they want to take-in and give-out information.


information products that demonstrate understandings
manage knowledge banks, develop eportfolio
time management

gant was suggested as a tool for this but it does not appear to be open source and not freeware.

Better open source MySQL and SQLite for data base rather than the open office.

Inkscape a vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw

– a 2D animation software.It lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation (cartoon) using both bitmap and vector graphics.


Having an audience interacting with then audience. Responding to others.
We were introduced to Gobby a real time discussion portal.
Other stuff:

Operating systems
Ubuntu (Linux)
Scribus open source for creative suite

HTTracker is a free and easy-to-use offline browser utility. And what does that mean?? You can download a web site and use it off line.

pidgin – multi platform messenger

7-zip free Open source Windows utility for manipulating archives. Formats 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR are supported fully, other formats can be unpacked.