Free Software in Education

 

9 Advantages of Free Software in Education

 

Ethical Education

Teaching is not just about facts, it's about teaching values. Ethics are central to a good education.

When we use software that restricts knowledge by not allowing us to learn from it – or to share our new found knowledge with our neighbours, then we are not teaching the correct values to our children. Free Software is ethical and will never criminalise students who use, study, modify and share it.

 

Lowered Costs

Because the user can make copies of Free Software and distribute them, there is no need to buy software licenses. The user can legally share thousands of applications., millions of times.

This includes operating systems, office suites, image editing programs and educational games. Hardware can be acquired with Free Software installed instead of proprietary software, driving down the cost of acquisition.

 

Increased Innovation

When innovative individuals are given the freedom to study and build on the works of others, the rate of innovation increases dramatically.

A wide distribution of Free Software will increase innovation inside and outside the education system. This translates into new products and services that are taxable and may be exported to increase GDP. This rapid speed of innovation is otherwise unmatched.

 

Latest Technology

The latest technology is no longer prohibitively expensive. With Free Software, costs do not directly increase with the amount of users.

The very latest technology can be configured for one educational facility and deployed across hundreds of locations (for example video conferencing for remote teaching, PDF book note annotating software or increased disabled user accessibility).

 

Better Education

Higher standards of education can be achieved by using Free Software. The greater availability of the latest technology means that expert teachers can take live questions from students from all over the country.

Lectures can be recorded and an archive created. Students can access the archive from home. New innovative media can link video, audio and textual documents for enhanced citations.

 

Greener Education

Energy can be conserved much more efficiently with Free Software. Developers can develop or enhance existing Free Software to run on systems that require far less resources.

Using a Free Software web-server stack on an Intranet means that very low power net-book or net-top systems can be used, saving electricity consumption over higher powered systems.

 

Simpler Administration

The deployment of a school Intranet built on Free Software can create a foundation to develop, extend and integrate school management systems.

From Roll-call, to document Management, Grading Systems, Virtual Classrooms, Academic Records, Human Resources Management, DoE&S School Performance Management and Accounting, the potential is limitless.

 

Real Investment

The State takes ownership of its software assets. This means that investment in IT projects really is investment. No project needs to be monolithic and many more vendors will be able to submit proposals for required contracts, increasing value.

A national standard of software, owned by the State yet supported by external software enhancements from existing projects will dynamically develop.

 

Community Involvement

Free Software projects can garner wider community involvement in education. Communities can support each other's academic pursuits. The same course materials can be shared under the GFDL[2] for mature and young students alike.

When we share with each other, we learn understanding and tolerance of those different to us. We learn to support and protect freedom.

 

References

[1] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl.html

[2] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html

 

(c) 2010-2015 Free Software University
 
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".