Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
This item caught my eye partially because the Ottawa-Carleton school board is where I went to school, and partially because the response from a superintendent, Laura McAlister, was described in this post as "clueless". Well, I'm always up for a good scandal. Except that, as I read the letter, it didn't seem clueless at all. These are genuine issues: "central authentication, file storage and security, costs of obtaining software, which for the most part today is free to schools courtesy of the OSAPAC program, adapting new applications into existing curriculum, security, staff training, portability, adaptability."

And the letter demonstrated, to me, at least, openness and willingness to listen. "Perhaps," wrote McAlister, "you or a member of your organization can assist school districts such as ours with meeting these challenges." While I know there are open source answer to all of her concerns, it is unfair to place the onus and the blame on a school board superintendent for not knowing them. I agree, "Microsoft sales reps got to her first." That's why it's important that people keep writing and keep demonstrating. And we have to be fair and generous in our regard for people who, through no fault of their own, don't have all the open source answers.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 01:03 a.m.