An interesting interview with Walter Bender over at OpenEducation.net
. Of particular interest are his comments on the interaction between FOSS philosophy and pedagogical imperatives (something Scott and I looked at in Chapters 3 and 4 of DL with regards to writing code and computer science education respectively). Bender goes on to talk about Sugar
"desktop" and notes its potential for fostering collaborative learning:
At its core is the concept of an “Activity”. Activities are software applications such as a web browser, a word processor, or even a calculator, that, when “Sugarized”, are enhanced by three key features: (1) the application is readily shared with others; for example, to share what you are reading with others requires just one “button click”; in the word processor, Sugar provides the ability to do peer-to-peer editing, again with just one click; a chat window is always available for seeking help, sharing ideas, or exchanging data; (2) a journal entry is created every time an application is run; not only are files and data automatically saved, but a diary is created so that a child, his/her teacher, and parents can monitor progress; and (3) applications run full-screen in a simplified framework, yet there is no upper bound on the complexity that can be reached;
And lastly, there is an interesting discussion of pedagogical philosophy and its resonance with FOSS:
Papert and his students found that children learn best when they are in the “active role of the designer and constructor” and that this happens best in a context where the child is “consciously engaged in constructing a public entity” — something “truly meaningful” for the learner. Further, the creation process and the end product must be shared with others in order for the full effects to take root.