Nov 2, 2006
As I sit in my hotel room at a California education technology conference, where I have been presenting and promoting open technology use in K-12 environments, it is difficult to quantify the shock of the recent announcement by Novell that they are, for all intents and purposes, partnering with Microsoft. While most commentary thus far has spun the deal as some sort of validation that Microsoft is finally recognizing the viability of Linux and OSS in the marketplace, or that this is some sort of response to Oracle's Red Hat Rip Off, I see this as a new threat to open source of a greater magnitude than the community has ever seen.

To understand my concern, you have to believe, as I do, that anything that reduces competition reduces choice, and ultimately hurts everyone. Consider the force of Novell's patents in the industry as a whole - their mere existence, alongside Novell's promises to protect the open source community from patent threats has undoubtedly bolstered the confidence of open source developers and vendors, as Novell has, up until now been "on their side." Now, Novell and the combined weight of its patents are behind the company to whom the success of open source is the greatest threat. This will undoubtedly influence corporate customers who are interested in and/or using Linux to make sure that their Linux distribution of choice is Suse Linux if, for no other reason than to protect themselves from potential litigation. As Ballmer said, "let's get you a version of Linux that protects our (Microsoft's) intellectual property."
Oct 31, 2006
The CETPA Conference is off to a great start this year, with lots of informative sessions for California technology directors from all over the state. It was great to see some familiar faces in my session today, Open Technologies in the Education Enterprise. We had quite a lively discussion, contemplating the implications and impact of all things open on the learning environment. If you attended my session and would like copies of the slides or support docs, links to the files are below:

CETPA Presentation Slides application/pdf
Open Technologies In Education application/pdf
OpenCDInfo application/pdf
OpenSourceProjects application/pdf

Thanks to everyone who attended! I thoroughly enjoyed the session, and welcome your comments or suggestions. Feel free to email me @ jklein@saugus.k12.ca.us
Jul 7, 2006

NECC 2006 Wrap-Up

NECC 2006 has come to a close, and all in all, I believe it was quite a success. ISTE did a great job of organizing and planning the events, with plenty of options for every interest and skill set. If there was one criticism I have of the conference, it would be that there should be a bit more scrutiny of the sessions, and that the schedule needs to be reduced to specific tracks in key interest areas. Wading through 20-25 session options on overlapping time schedules during any given hour was a bit unnerving at times. Fewer, more focused sessions with proven speakers along track lines would be a big improvement.

Yesterday, Mike and I participated in a BOF (birds of a feather) session with some of the leaders in open technologies in education, as well as a large number of teachers and other education leaders with a variety of backgrounds and interests in the topic.
Jul 5, 2006

NECC Update - Wed 7.5.06

Arrived at NECC today, and have been quite impressed, not only by the number of attendees, but also by the number and quality of vendors in the exhibit hall. The selection of sessions is downright dizzying for any one hour period, on a wide variety of topics. I have been happy to see a large number of sessions incorporating open-source tools, some of which we use (or are thinking of using.) There are quite a few districts exploring the possibilities of open technologies. After seeing the state of blogging and e-portfolios at these sessions, however, I'm looking forward to demonstrating our teacher community on Friday - boy do they need something better!

I'll be serving on a variety of panels and other meetings as well while I am here. Will keep everyone posted with pictures, etc. as the days progress.

A view of the NECC show floor:



A view from inside a NECC session:


A view from outside the San Diego Convention Center:
Jun 12, 2006

OLPC Follow Up

The following is a follow up on to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative post from last week, and is in response to concerns raised by a CETPA member:

Several of the concerns have already been considered, and while some of the solutions may not be ideal, they are at the very least a step in the right direction. Conditions on the ground will always be a factor, and there will always be differences from country to country. Ultimately, getting the devices in the field will be the proving ground for these theories, and I am certain that they will see much revision. The following is my understanding, from reviewing the project materials and full text of the comments and presentations of the project group, of the appropriate responses to the questions (listed below) about OLPC:

Q - How will these devices be maintained? They will break, everything breaks, and these will be in the worst of environments for electronic devices. I don't think parts distribution is part of the current plan, at least not in anything that I've read.
Jun 5, 2006
In recent days, significant media attention has been given to MIT's One Laptop per Child initiative, including a good deal of, in my opinion, unwarranted criticism. The following is my personal take on the matter, as posted on the California Education Technology Processors Association (CETPA) mailing list:

When considering the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, we must bear in mind the real purpose of the initiative, along with the problems that these countries face with regard to education. I can understand how one might be tempted to evaluate the potential effectiveness of OLPC solely based on the technical specifications of the tool, mistakenly basing their conclusions on their personal experiences in the classrooms of the richest country in the world. Before we pass judgement on it, we must first study the project itself, discover who is behind it, evaluate the educational needs of the rest of the world without personal bias, and consider the tool as it applies to the goal, rather than our personal desires or experiences.
Mar 29, 2006

Tech Ed Conference Wrap Up

Yesterday (3/27) I presented on Open Technologies in the Education Enterprise at the annual TechEd International Conference and Expo in Pasadena, California, to a great crowd! Several requested electronic versions of the presentation and supporting documents, as well as links to additional resources, which are attached to this blog post. Thanks to everyone who attended and took part in this lively discussion on open technologies!
I would also recommend the SUSD Open Technologies pages at http://www.saugus.k12.ca.us/migration for more information about our specific experiences, as well as great resources and advice about migrating to open technologies at your school or district.
Mar 6, 2006
eSchoolNews has a good article on boosting school communication in their March edition. The seven key technology tools for boosting communication includes many of the technologies we are pioneering here at SUSD, including weblogs, webcasts, podcasts, enewsletters, and the like. We currently have nearly all of these resources available. Definitely some good food for thought.