__/ [ Lobo ] on Monday 13 March 2006 21:08 \__
> Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology
> Volume 31(1) Winter / hiver 2005
> Open Source Software and Schools:
> New Opportunities and Directions
> Problems With Proprietary Software in Education
> "Another issue of social responsibility that receives considerable
> attention is the school's complicity in exposing students to
> commercial products and corporate interests (e.g., Apple, 1993;
> Wilcox, et al., 2004). The potential harm to students may be even more
> serious when it comes to ICT than it is when, for example, a corporate
> logo is displayed or advertisements are shown. When schools select
> commercial software packages, the students are not only exposed to the
> logos and products of a company, but they are also trained in how to
> use the software. In this sense, schools are a highly efficient
> marketing opportunity for software companies as they train the future
> users of the product while paying the company for the right to do so.
> Ideally, the focus when teaching students about software should be on
> the concepts involved, rather than simply teaching them how to use a
> particular product."
The issue of commericialisation in academia makes the mind boggle. It is
no exception to the privatisation of the Web and its services.
Would you believe that the University acquired the Google Mini appliance
and it boasts the Google logo in the site search? How about the fact that
there are poster advertisement in some of the computer clusters? I have
protested about this rather quietly as the University gets paid to have
advertisements here and there, which I find a wee bit diugraceful.
You should see some faces when a student requires the use of a Mac in the
monogamous clusters. I once proposed having somw dual-boots in the main
clsuters (not the maths, physics and CS ones, which do so already). This
proposal was not received with open hands. They still believe in dependen-
cy issues *rolls eyes* and they just want to use XP images with Dell
equipment, which could run Linux without any issues.
Now, just assume the kids used nothing but GNOME at school. Wouldn't there
be an outrage if a University then provided "some pricy, dodgy O/S" in-
stead of offerring what is already there for free? Tuition fees are rather