There are 3 trends I notice when we talk about Education and FOSS in the same sentence. Especially when it comes to conferences and workshops in India. These are:
- FOSS in Education (FiE) – in all probability this can be the one aspect that is quickly done. There exists a curricula and content, and, the aim in this workflow is to ensure that the needs of the curricula are met via FOSS tools and technologies. A pretty much on-topic example could be consumption of Fedora Electronics Lab (FEL) towards teaching the content. Or, using parts of the GNU ToolChain when teaching programming and development.
- FOSS for Education (FfE) – reworking the focus and direction of the curricula and courses towards giving it either a neutral shape (thus allowing easier FiE) or, going full-throttle and making change happen. Since curricula creation has a lot of traditional (and, sometimes unusual) stakeholders, FfE is a game of constant flux, push-n-pull. For obvious reasons, it is also the place where a large amount of community involvement is required. Changes need catalysts. Community participation and direction provide that bit of spark which starts getting_things_done.
- Open Content in Education (OCiE) – have heard a lot of discussions around this but, am yet to see any University or College take this up seriously. Making the entire course content (syllabus, reading, references – the works) open and available for re-distribution or, re-use is something that Universities need to consider seriously. The era of classical education being driven through ‘red-brick’, ‘government funded’ institutions is close to being over. There are multiple ways to reach out to the potential learners as opposed to just waiting for the students to come in and enroll themselves. Re-thinking about content and breaking out from the mould of ‘elitism’ is something most educational institutions are not accustomed to doing. And, it requires careful handholding. Both in terms of the ‘coming out’ as well as the legal aspects of putting out the content. I would be interested in knowing about institutions in India that have managed to put this as part of a practice.