Tuesday, March 04, 2008

FOSS Birds-of-a-Feather at SIGCSE 2008

Team Decoding Liberation will be at the SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education in Portland, OR next week; I think it's fair to characterize this as the most significant annual conference about CS education in North America. The conference's theme is "Diversity through Accessibility," which is hard to argue with.

One would think that FOSS might be an important aspect of "accessibility," but that doesn't seem to be the case. Samir and I will be leading a "Birds-of-a-Feather" session on Thursday evening for people interested in thinking about FOSS and CS education; I have no idea how many attendees to expect. We'll also be attending a workshop on teaching and building humanitarian open source software, led by Ralph Morelli and his colleagues on the HFOSS project (Ralph will also be helping us out with our session Thursday). Otherwise, the FOSS presence is fairly thin. I do note, looking at the program-at-a-glance, that vendors, most especially Microsoft, but also Sun, Intel, Cisco, and Google, have dedicated parallel sessions throughout the conference -- so Thursday morning I'll have to decide whether to go to a panel on "Computers, Culture, and Society" (including a paper about a course on collaborative computing by some folks from Auckland) or listen to Microsoft talk about "External Research Efforts and Assessment in Education Research" (they're going to be showcasing new educational technologies!)

The one moment in the schedule where FOSS leaps out is Saturday morning (sadly, as I expect we may be spending that time enjoying anything Portland might have to offer outside the Convention Center). Another Microsoft Vendor Session, this one on "Comparing Windows and Linux in OS courses." Just for the sparkling brevity of it all, here's the abstract of the talk:
The presentation provides a top-level overview of kernel architecture, using Windows to teach OS, and how Windows fundamentally differs from Linux.
I'm sure we'll have more to say when we get back. If you're going to be there, please track us down . . . .

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