If you’re in EdTech You Need to Come to All Things Open Next Year

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.

The Road to Raleigh and All Things Open 2015

In a few days I’ll be boarding a flight that will take me to Raleigh-Durham International and eventually to the All Things Open Conference which is next week. As I was driving home tonight I thought of the journey that began nearly twenty years ago that brought me to this point. I thought of my experiences with Linux and open source software and the many servers and desktops I’ve built and rebuilt over the years that foreordained this trip. On Sunday I’ll be attending a meeting of  community-moderators of Opensource.com in Red Hat Tower. None of this was on my radar in the days when I used to piece together old computers in storage closets at my place of employment and install a variety of Linux distributions on them. I thought of my efforts to have Red Hat Linux approved as a software standard for use in public schools of Western New York State almost eleven years ago. I’m thrilled at the prospect of meeting others from all over the world who also believe that the present and future hold unlimited potential for those individuals and entities who use open source software. When I retired from public education a couple of years ago I thought I had reached the limit of my endeavors with Linux and open source software.

Emerson once said, every wall is a door,” and my retirement opened a door to unimagined possibilities. One of those possibilities has been my participation in the wonderful enterprise of Opensource.com as a community moderator. In the past ten months I’ve learned a lot about writing, interviewing and participation. I’ve learned about more than software and hardware. I’ve learned about being a part of a wonderful open organization. I’ve been welcomed, empowered and encouraged by a unique team of individuals who have helped me to realize that I still have much to give.