The State of Open Source in Education

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Open Source Software, open content, Web 2.0, and open standards are all contributing to a revolution in learning. While there is a general sense by educators and administrators of how information, content, and programming are both becoming freely available and highly participative, they are very confused by the landscape and their decisions are largely, almost entirely, driven by financial models.

While Open Source Software programs like Linux, OpenOffice, Moodle, and many more are increasingly being adopted by schools for both practical and pedagogical reasons, the adoption rate is still very low. At the same time, significant changes are taking place in our society and culture, largely driven by the Open Source movement and the subsequent participative and collaborative technologies of the Web. These technologies have the potential to dramatically (and quickly) change public expectations of the role of schools in teaching and learning, and will likely catch most institutions unprepared.

We can predict several changes to education that are likely to come from these changes, and as we examine the core dilemmas and the opportunities that these changes will bring to our current educational systems. We’ll also discuss what lessons there are for those who care about education to help educators and schools to better understand and adopt open technologies.

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Steve Hargadon

Classroom 2.0

Steve Hargadon is the Social Learning Consultant for Elluminate/Blackboard Collaborate, founder of the Classroom 2.0 social network, host of the Future of Education interview series, and co-chair of the Global Education Conference. He pioneered the use of social networking in education, particularly for professional development. He blogs, speaks, and consults on educational technology, he runs the Open Source Pavilion and speaker series for the ISTE, CUE, and other edtech shows, and is the organizer of the annual EduBloggerCon, OpenSourceCon, and the “unplugged” and “bloggers’ cafe” areas at both ISTE and CUE. He is also the Emerging Technologies Chair for ISTE, the author of “Educational Networking: The Important Role Web 2.0 Will Play in Education,” the recipient of the 2010 Technology in Learning Leadership Award (CUE), and a blogger at He has consulted for PBS, Intel, Ning, Microsoft, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, CoSN, the U.S. State Department, and others on educational technology and specifically on social networking. He and his wife have four children. He can be reached at