Today while I was at the All Things Open Conference I thought, “we need more educational technology people here.” There is a wealth of information shared about open source projects and technologies and most of them should be on the radar of anyone that’s teaching today’s students. This morning I listened to an excellent presentation by Mark Russinovitch who is the CTO of Microsoft Azure. Mark spent about thirty minutes explaining the what and why of Microsoft’s involvement with Linux kernel development and it s presence in other open source software projects including Python.
In 2015 it is irresponsible not to expose students to Linux and open source and most of today’s internet of things and cloud applications run on open source platforms. In fact in one of the sessions I attended at this year’s conference there was a seventh grade boy from a Raleigh, NC area school district. He was so engaged in the presentation that he asked the presenter a very good question at the end of her presentation.
Throughout the conference I heard great presentations from the National Center for Women in Information Technology, Girl DevelopIT, GitHub 101, and Openstack 101. My personal favorite among all those sessions which were most appropriate to educational technology was Charlie Reisinger’s lightning talk about his one-to-one Linux laptop program at Penn Manor High School in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Charlie said that today’s students who are often called digital natives risk their futures by failing to learn skills that are highlighted in the program at Penn Manor which emphasizes hands on work with assembling and supporting Linux laptops. Many well meaning school districts undercut their students learning by forcing them to use tablets and other closed systems which don’t allow students to learn by tinkering and coding.