Open Source Adapted Bicycle Pedal Comes to the Rescue
Accessibility has always been important to designers of open source software. Now that open source has come to design, that's more true than ever, as demonstrated with this open source bicycle
Linux Action Show to End Eleven-Year Run at LFNW
Six more episodes before the popular Linux podcast, Linux Action Show, ends its nearly 11-year run in a live broadcast from LinuxFest Northwest.

Media



Jupiter Broadcasting's long-running
Dealing With Real-Life, Everyday Security Threats
No one has ever been shot by a hacker who was breaking into their computer through the Internet. Not so for thieves coming in through the back door.

Roblimo's Hideaway



I wrote a piece
Four Things a New Linux User Should Know
When you move from "that other operating system" to Linux, you're going to find that in most ways you'll be in familiar territory. However, that's not always the case. We sometimes do things a little differently
The Future of Desktop Ubuntu
With all the changes happening at Canonical, you might wonder what this means for the future of desktop Ubuntu, besides the return to the GNOME desktop.



There hasn't been this much news about a single Linux distro
Libreboot Reorganizes: Seeks to Make Amends
It appears the people developing Libreboot have done some of the hard work necessary to fix potentially toxic personal dynamics after last year's controversy, when the project removed itself from the
It's Windows Time in Linux Land Again
Using Windows. What a horrible thing to ask a Linux user to do.
April 26th, 2016

Charlie Reisinger: Using FOSS to Empower Students

The Video Screening Room

When Pennsylvania’s Penn Manor High School launched the state’s largest free software learning program, they did it a little differently than most schools. As click-baity ads on FaceBook like to proclaim: You won’t believe what happened next.

If you’re an open source believer, you must see the tremendously inspiring and informative TEDx talk by Charlie Reisinger, IT Director of the Penn Manor School District, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Viewing this video makes me want to jump out of my chair several times to cheer. One of the most powerful lines is: “Together these problems create a costly chain of vendor software lock-in and student learning lock-out. How do we break free?”

Reisinger is writing a book about the Penn Manor story and I had the great privilege of a draft of it. He’ll be distributing the finished version of the book as a PDF for free — perhaps as early as this summer. I would not be surprised at all if National Public Radio, the BBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal or the New York Times did a story about the Penn Manor School District. To call these folks very smart, courageous visionaries is somewhat of an understatement.

Leave a supportive comment on this YouTube video, if the video resonates with you. Reisinger will notice and appreciate it.

Editor’s note: This article was updated 4/26/16 at 10:23 p.m. EDT to correct information about Reisinger’s book.

The following two tabs change content below.

Phil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at [email protected]

3 comments to Charlie Reisinger: Using FOSS to Empower Students

  • Carling

    I have been promote this video at every opportunity I get since the day I first saw it. Yes it is an eye opener on how much Microsoft is costing the American education tax payers. Penn Manor High School saved $360.000 annually by moving from Microsoft to Free Open Source Linux Operating System and free Open Source Linux application software, Just think what Could/would be saved if every education department moved to and used Linux, FOSS (Free Open Source Software) for those that don’t know what FOSS stands for

  • W. Anderson

    This project, as described in article and video is very noble and much needed in today’s educational programs in USA.

    However, every person I have shown the article and video had one conclusion – that the whole program was “perceived” as geared to only those students interested in technology/computer science courses and courseware, and that there appeared to be no female students in video, which has always been and proven a hold-back to general education of “all” students and with too much focus on technology at the expense of other very exciting class subjects.

    I agree with much of the sentiment expressed above, both as a 25 plus years technology professional, with much of that time immersed in use and promotion of Free/open Source Software (FOSS), even as representative for one of the largest FOSS technology projects in existence. I had also spent considerable time teaching FOSS technology, and making presentations on subject at one of the very largest technology corporations in USA and Internationally.

    Two comments I would make of the generally very positive advocacy of FOSS in video.

    One is omission of reasons school administrators “lock down” students’ ‘proprietary’ software based computers, which should be clearly spelled out as added value proposition for FOSS adoption – the exorbitant costs and lost productivity that is guaranteed in selection of proprietary software. Schools know the headaches and frustration experienced with malware, poor reliability and tactics of exorbitant subscriptions costs for support and upgrades imposed on schools for proprietary software.

    The second is excessive emphasis on the technology aspect of FOSS, with far too little time enunciating the valuable creative aspects of FOSS use in Art, History, multimedia, social communications, personal productive use and several other topics that are just as important in the development of students minds for the twenty-first century.

    I do hope this trend of enlightening educators and general public on FOSS continued unabated, since the critical factor of “cost savings”, while not the most important attribute of FOSS, has not been lost on school systems, and indeed the whole societies in areas like the Caribbean, Central and South America – whose economics as just as dire as poor and/or struggling regions of USA, but also in Europe and Asia where FOSS is substantially more respected, appreciated and adopted as a substantial percentage of the best tools for technology use in almost all aspects of everyday living.

  • deepin 2014-2/20014-3 were very charming but solid, quick and stable os, appelling to ex Windows XP/7 users with WINE easylly installable.

    deepin 2015, 2015-2, etc. are still apelling but are not stable, and has difficulties to maintain a wifi connection… and installing WINE has became difficult.
    I do nat recommend it any more.

    So, I biased, for personal laptop, installed elementary o.s.

    Of course, for a vast majority Mint is king.