A Little More about Open Source & A Real Treat

Seacoast Professional Development CenterI spent my last day in New Hampshire yesterday working in the most beautiful New England town of Exeter. I worked with Rick Chretien in the basement of a former hotel, converted to office building, at least 100 years old, of not older. I so loved being in New Hampshire.

They too are exploring and employing open source, and are furthering my excitement about the possibilities. We must continue to ask that question, “Why are we being made to prepare your children for a dynamic, exciting, and very challenging future, with little or no funding for contemporary information and communication technology?” “Why?”

That said, open source is appealing, if for no other reason than there seems to be very little trade off. The software and operating system are both rich and robust. Rick has a staff of several technicians whose job it is to take business donated computers, strip out the unneeded components, and install Linux, and dozens of open source software, including productivity tools (Open Office), graphics (Gimp), and sound processing software (Audacity), and many others.

Podcaster, Bob SprankleI also had a supreme treat as a young many walked up to me near the beginning of the workshop and introduced himself, “David Warlick? I’m Bob Sprankle.” It hadn’t occurred to me that Wells Maine might be so close to Exeter, New Hampshire. We had two great sessions, one on ethics in the new information environment, and the afternoon on emerging ICT tools.

Once again, I missed a golden podcasting opportunity, but I forgive myself, because I was very tired after a long but lovely week in that beautiful state. This afternoon, I fly to Texas, some of my favorite people in the world.

Albus DumbledoreI also want to mention the beautiful banquet hall where I spoke to members of the New Hampshire ed tech association and ISTE affiliate, NHISTE. The hall was part of the St. Paul School, and I felt like Albus Dumbledore, addressing the congregation of Hogwarts. It was a great evening, and I got to share some new ideas and resources. Thanks New Hampshire.

15 thoughts on “A Little More about Open Source & A Real Treat”

  1. David,
    I am so glad you enjoyed your stay in NH. I am also glad you got to see Linux/thin clients up close and personal.

    In pondering your question: “Why are we being made to prepare your children for a dynamic, exciting, and very challenging future, with little or no funding for contemporary information and communication technology?” “Why?” Now that I know Open Source has viable options to commercial products, I can use the money saved to get the materials students need to do those really great things….like podcasting! I met with a special needs teacher yesterday. She got very excited as we spoke of “non” pc equipment her kids could use to explore, employ, express, and use technology ethically. I mentioned podcasting…her eyes lit up as she thought of the number of students who have iPods. She went on to exclaim (literally) “and they will be using something that will show they fit in!” We went on to discuss iTalk and she started “seeing” Senior Projects in a whole different light. The conversation was much like the one Maria and I had in front of you late Wed. evening…excitement plus!

    So…as I continue down the road of always exploring Open Source…it’s with the notion that I can use my tech dollars to get the stuff there is no subsitute for. I don’t want to trade off good for cheap. Part of the Yankee frugality you hear so much about is that we look for quality without having to spend big $$!

    Finally, as I continue to grow in this position of tech coordinator I feel I must challenge the consumers of this information. Why is it that we feel we need certain “products”? I’m wondering how many people would think twice if Open Office was presented as Microsoft XOO?


  2. David-
    It was great to meet you and share lunch at the Loaf and Ladle in downtown Exeter. It was also very energizing to be able to bring back the exciting world of blogging, wiki’s and podcasting to my middle school in Hampton, NH. We’ve had discussions about the jazz band recordng music for a podcast featuring young Spanish and French world language students, and several teachers, although tired from all the testing in the past month, are excited about increasing their use o ftechnology in the classroom.
    I am glad you enjoyed your visit to Exeter, we certainly enjoyed having you!

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