[K12OSN] [Fwd: NECC and thanks]

Tom Hoffman tom.hoffman at gmail.com
Sat Jul 2 05:52:38 UTC 2005

On 7/1/05, Gideon Romm <ltsp at symbio-technologies.com> wrote:
> Hi, all!
> I just wanted to publicly thank Steve Hargadon, Kim Brand, and all the
> folks at Yorktown High School for their awesome work at the National
> Education and Computing Conference (NECC) 2005 this past week!

First off, I'd like to thank these folks as well for their hard work this year.

It is hard to get a sense of the zeitgeist in a convention as huge as
NECC, but I felt that the level of awareness and curiosity about open
source was noticably higher than the previous year.  The overall
visibility of open source wasn't much higher though.  Novell didn't
manage to fly the desktop Linux flag as high as I had hoped, mostly
because they didn't have enough floor space to show off anything in
particular.  The NECC schedule is so massive and complex it was hard
to get a sense of the scope, times and locations of open source
related talks and presentations.  We don't, in retrospect, have much
data about how many people went to open source oriented talks, picked
up stuff at the Free Software Center, etc.

I hope I can talk about this without making those who worked at the
lab, made presentations, etc. feel like I'm attacking them.  I was
more than a little bit behind the game myself and my contribution to
the lab was minimal.

Now I'm thinking about NEXT YEAR.

Sponsorship -- I am entirely ignorant of the details of the
arrangement with NECC that created the Free Software Center/email
garden, but it seems to me that we should be able to get some money
out of Novell, Canonical and others to underwrite our efforts, whether
they would explicitly sponsor the FSC or by some less direct path. 
This wouldn't mean, for example, that we'd be shilling Novell product
or having Novell product demos in the lab.  It might mean someone from
Novell talking about GNOME, Hula or other GPL software they back.

I'm thinking of money for nice signs and other promotional materials. 
Maybe a flyer in the conference bag, something that everyone would see
immediately, at least in theory.  Also money to underwrite bringing in
more speakers to talk about free software.  Perhaps some free software
hackers who wouldn't normally think of NECC as being relevant to their
work, but who could help explain the open source world to teachers.

Talks -- First off, I'm officially kicking off my personal campaign to
get Miguel de Icaza invited to do a keynote next year, although I
don't know what such a campaign would entail, or if he could even be
coaxed into making the trip.  Heck, I can't even figure out what his
title at Novell is these days.  Given the close proximity of the next
NECC to the Mexican border, I think he'd be a particularly apt choice.

We should definitely propose a panel on the philosophy and practice of
free software development, with a diverse group of speakers.  We
should systematically nag relevant people to make a proposal to NECC. 
I have no idea how many FOSS-related proposals NECC got this year, but
I have a feeling that it wasn't as many as it could be.

Lobbying ISTE/NECC - If I recall correctly, there isn't anything in
particular in the application to present at NECC that flag's one's
presentation as being relevant to open source.  This would help in
raising NECC's consciousness and could perhaps also be used to help
them add a little icon to the calendar to designate FOSS-related
talks, or at least help us make an easy-to use guide to FOSS at NECC,
get in touch with the relevant presenters prior to the talk, nag them
for after-action reports, etc.

Moodle - My sense was that Moodle is ready to go thermonuclear in K12
education, and we should ride that wave.  Next year we should have a
full slate of hourly mini-talks scheduled at the free software center,
and I'd say a third of them should be Moodle related, promoted on
Moodle mailing lists, etc.

I'm bringing up these ideas because I'm interested in working to make
NECC 2006 the year that open source goes from underground to
mainstream.  We just need to get started with enough lead time.


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