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[K12OSN] Re: Introducing Fedora's Education SIG

Hey, everyone! I've been lurking on this list, but I suppose now is as good a time as any to introduce myself. My name is Mel. I'm an engineer and an education geek, and (as Sebastian mentioned) helping him on the Fedora education spin (during "free time" when I'm not working on http://teachingopensource.org/index.php/POSSE_2009, teaching professors how to teach open source, as part of my day job at Red Hat with Greg).

It basically includes a spin - a special flavor of Fedora - designed especially for students and teachers, to provide them with an encouraging experience to contribute to educational efforts. So this is about allowing you, your students, to better work with upstream projects and even to contribute to them. So we're not providing the perfect solution. We're making the tools to create it.

This is really important.

For the spin, we're *not* making (or packaging or providing) software that K-12 students can use to study - you won't find flash cards or astronomy charts or dictionaries or anything of the sort in here. The spin we're going to be releasing on July 19 is not intended for use in, say, a 4th grade classroom.

What we *are* making is a development environment for people who want to make things that K-12 students can use to study. Those people could definitely include the K-12 students themselves, and we hope it'll include you as well. We're pretty sure it will include at least some of the CS professors coming out to POSSE in July - they are professors teaching classes (not necessarily education classes) who want their students to contribute to open-source efforts as part of their coursework, and some of these groups are likely to have a strong interest in contributing to open-source *education* projects in particular. (So they might, for instance, assign one of their student teams to find a middle school science class and make a game to help them learn the topic they're studying. I'm making this particular example up, but you get the idea.)

Now, admittedly, there's a good amount of overlap between making things to help you learn, and learning. (Projects like Sugar Labs actually treat them as more or less the same thing.) But we're focused on the first for the next month. We're doing this, in part, because we want to build an ecosystem of great education packages - but in order to do that, it's got to be easy for people to help. So we're making the tools for that first.

Hopefully that makes sense - as Sebastian said, please ask questions and shout out ideas at any time, and we'll figure things out together as we go along.



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