Teachers are Heroes just for one day – Open Source Schools @ BETT 2009 – Why you must use Open Source Software

Open Source Schools

Open Source Schools - BETT Seminar January 19th 2009

Open Source Schools – BETT Seminar January 19th 2009

Every once in a while you see something that makes you think: ‘Yes this really is going to change education in this country’ and it makes you smile inside because you know what is going to happen further down the line and how revolutionary it will be; it will touch the lives of so many people and transform learning – making it more effective, more engaging, more personal and build a sense of community far beyond the initial event itself.

Pivotal Moments

One such moment was on the saturday at BETT 2009, where a small but significant 45 minute presentation by 4 teachers (Miles Berry, Michelle Walters, Jose’ Picardo and Doug Belshaw) on Open Source Schools will, potentially, change the face of how schools use Software in the UK and beyond and its knock on effect for how people do business in the classroom. A big shout out must also go to Josie Fraser who I know was one of the consultants to BECTA on the project which is going from strength to strength.

Days of Lockdown are ending

For me the days of locked-in licenced computing and the lack of access to pupils to good professional quality software at home are a big issue. So this launch is timely – if you are mulling over the lack of funds in your budget for the year you must see this presentation – it will save you thousands of pounds and enable you to have a way of ensuring pupils can work from home to school and back again fluently with the software and kit without worrying over legal and compatability issues. This will save you money and raise the game in terms of home/ school learning.

Fiming and Mashing the presentations

I couldn’t attend because I was presenting about Second Life (with a live link to Tailand) elsewhere at BETT but Hannah Wise from the BBC kindly agreed to film the session and what a good job of camerawork she did! I’m glad we managed to capture it on video because I think the event needed documenting and the basic concepts spreading as far and wide as possible using that medium.

I’m passionate about the use of video in education to effect change – for me it is the underlying ethos behind this site. See something good, film it or record it to audio and then disseminate it to make things happen. So I Mashed the video with the presentations to create the results below. They will all be available on the Open Source Schools site, please go there for lots more resources as well and please download them and use them in CPD for consciousness raising locally. They are all free to distribute under a CC Education Commons licence. In this time of Credit Crunch and shrinking school budgets Open Source Software will be invaluable but more than that it will underpin and build your learning communities and that is what it’s all about surely? Show this to your head, head of department, LA advisor, parents, local firms, anyone who can make a difference in your local community.

Teachers are Heroes

The teachers in this film are special; early adopters who have given over hours of their time to show their vison for the future – people like this are my heroes – they make the difference and not for just one day but one day, one moment can change things, they have my immense respect. They are passionately engaged with their subject and, most of all, their pupils; they change people’s lives by their devotion and commitment to education. What they do needs to be documented and shared.

Open Source is about People and how they connect

Open Source is not about the software, it is about the people, the inherent freedoms of choice we make in our world and the lives of the young people with whom we engage and isn’t that one of the most wonderful things to pass on to another generation? Making these videos has been a labour of love I hope you find them of use and spread the word far and wide. But enough of this sentimental guff – down to practicalities; watch the videos below, download, show and share them with everyone you know.

The Presentations

Miles Berry, Michelle Walters, Jose’ Picardo and Doug Belshaw – Whole Presentation

Miles Berry’s Introduction (only) to Open Source

Michelle Walters explains what Open Office is and how to use it

Doug Belshaw talks about his use of Netbooks and Linux in the classroom

Jose’ Picardo talks about how to install and use Audacity the free Open Souce audio recorder

Miles Berry talking about Moodle

Michelle Walters on how to get started with Open Source Software

Miles Berry talks about the Open Source Schools website

NB: For those of you with a technical bent the links to an iPhone, WMV, OGG Vorbis and loads of other versions of these videos are available at the blip.tv site : http://learn4life.blip.tv/. Just have a look at the controls for embedding in the show player.

Posted on by leoncych in advisory, BECTA, Continual Professional Development, Digital Divide, Digital Literacy, Digital Media, distributed networking, Educational Change, hosting, informal learning, Innovation, IT support, LA, Moodle, open source, pedagogy, Peer to Peer, Personalised Learning, podcasting, training

8 Responses to Teachers are Heroes just for one day – Open Source Schools @ BETT 2009 – Why you must use Open Source Software

  1. Miles Berry

    This is brilliant! Thanks so much for your phenomenal effort in editing this down and uploading it – I’m thrilled that our presentation will be able to reach a far wider audience this way. Kudos too to Hannah Wise for the camera work!

  2. Leon Cych

    Not at all Miles – you guys did the work over months and months. Amazing presentations and all to time – so professional and so much packed into that three quarters of an hour. It needs a much wider coverage and as we now have the means to do that it should be shared…

  3. José Picardo


    I entirely agree with Miles’s sentiment. Thank you so much for all the hard work putting this presentation together and also for the nice words accompanying it.


  4. Pingback: Open Source Schools Presentation at BETT | milesberry.net

  5. Doug Belshaw

    Leon, great work! You’re making me blush by that reference to ‘hero’, though. We’re ordinary teachers who have recognised the power of Open Source software – not just in that it’s free, but the potentially revolutionary collaborative nature of it.

    Thanks for doing such a great job in helping us get the message out. 🙂

  6. Mark Chambers

    Thanks Leon appreciate the work this repreents and enjoyed listening to the presentations having completely missed them at BETT. One observation/note of caution for schools considering Open Office vs MS Office – our bitter experience is that the assertion by the purveyors of dominant MIS systems that they will work effectively with Open Office are not true. Here’s to an Open Standard coupled with an Open Source future 🙂 Thanks again.

  7. Hannah Wise

    What a fantastic bunch of people.

    Hooray for Open Source Schools!

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