Open Source: why are we not allowed to use it?

Why Aren’t More Schools Using Free, Open Tools?

Teachers were complaining that they wanted a simple way to share files and links within the classroom, like a private Twitter app. Rather than having IT professionals respond to the request, Reisinger’s students programmed a solution that they call Paper Plane. ”Those kids have code up on GitHub [a site for open-source code] right now that they’re sharing out,” Reisinger said. Students also designed the help ticketing software that their peers use to request IT support.

oh, my, what a blasphemy; what do we do about SECURITY?…

A lot of people are scared away from open-source software or operating systems like Linux because of the belief that they are harder for teachers and students to use, and are more challenging to support.

a bigger reason people don’t go open-source is that the devices and software aren’t as shiny and exciting as iPads or Chromebooks.

recent concerns regarding third party providers and privacy are less of an issue


Open or free learner response software (i.e. BYOD clickers)

Excellent thread in the LinkedIn Higher Education Teaching and Learning discussion group:

Open or free learner response software (i.e. BYOD clickers)?

Ph.D. Student, Experienced Software Engineer & Education Enthusiast

I am currently preparing for next semester. A learner response system allows the instructor (or presenting students) to easily interact with a large audience by posing questions or problem statements, and then collecting all responses which can be shown in real-time on the projection screen. In particular, a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) system is one that only needs software (such as Learning Catalytics) and runs on any smartphone or tablet with internet access, which the students already have.

So far, I have not found a free learner response system (or “clicker”). I like the features of Learning Catalytics, but it’s difficult to convince students or the department to spend that much money (12$ per student). Also, the professor (and I also) categorically dislike any non-free solutions (many of us in Computer-Science are big fans of open-source, especially when it comes to the essentials, such as education).

Please note: This might not seem much to American education, but it is in most other countries, especially when that’s the price of a text book and even enrollment. After all, education should ideally be free (feel free to argue with me privately if you disagree).