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January 11, 2009

Winter Linux School for teachers 2009

On January 26-30, 2009 a Winter school for teachers will be held in Pereslavl Zalessky. Co-organizers of the school are: Scientific-educational Institution "IPS University of Pereslavl", Software Systems Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Logic, ALT Linux.

Four main topics are:

   1. PSPO project ("Linux for educational institutions of Russia"): what is it?
   2. How does one begin work with Linux?
   3. How to start accomplishing tasks using Linux standalone (independently)?
   4. How to accomplish shared tasks together, without reinventing the wheel?

Topic of the school: Linux in an educational institution

Russian schools are in the age of profound changes again. This time they are on a software crossroad: use a set of proprietary application or start using PSPO provided by government, and neither of them is an easy way. Choosing to go on with proprietary software means pay for licenses all the time and for a long time, if not forever tie themselves and children to the only limited set of applications. Choosing the free/libre software means significantly changes of the educational and administrative processes, changes in methodical materials, struggle against difficulties; all in all, start "living in the ages of great changes". And there isn't enough information how to make such a switch.

In higher schools and technical secondary schools the situation is less dramatic, but more puzzled. Curriculum and requirements to software change all the time. Not all of the requirements can be met — for both financial reasons, for not knowing the right tool and for absense of such a tool. Many teachers and students know that this can be overcome using free/libre software: freedom of tool's choice, coupled with ability to enhance and improve it is the main characteristic of free/libre software. But even though information on how and where to choose and how to come closer to accomplishing tasks independently is available, it isn't well known yet in the educational community.

There is the other side of the story. Since fast and uneven distribution of free/libre software in educational institutions had begun, amount of so called “success stories” (how this or that user task was accomplished using Linux) has increased. However success of one person doesn't really mean success of lots of people: there is still no worked out solid practice of sharing technical knowledge, collaborative accomplishing of tasks and creating of common information space by the educational community. This will be discussed at the conference, where the winter school will be held. Withing the framework of the school attendees will be give a possibility to demonstrate their own achievements in the field of using Linux.


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