Educate in Freedom is a pedagogical-political libertarian option.
Our job is to help empower youth, children and adults in underprivileged communities through the appropriation of free and open source software, thus spreading the socialization of knowledge and freedom of culture.
We study and we want to implement among our most important references, the proposed Paulo Freire‘s popular education and other educators whose common essence is to attack the dichotomy between teacher and students (and software developers, users), suggesting a self-management education for communities, empowering them by knowledge to the construction of their liberty.
At this very moment we’ve only had experiences in Mexico”s city and eastern part of the Estado de México, but it would be great to connect with educators from other lattitudes, share ideas and if possible, build a language and a common proposal for network action.
- Initial experiences of popular education with Free Software
- Medium-term purposes
- Immediate obstacles
- As we plan to overcome them.
Initial experiences of popular education with Free and Open Source Software
In 2009 I had the opportunity to work directly with children in an elementary school in Chimalhuacán, Estado de México, in very poor condition (no internet, less than a dozen computers for about 400 children, without any employment benefits), but with great enthusiasm to see how kids would get the idea of free software. Prior to that, my experience was in workshops with activists, activist of unions and media more “politicized” but had not explored further the educational proposal of FOSS, except for GCompris, that my daughter loves.
The experiment was short, a few months, but the kids fed my enthusiasm, and they were fascinated about:
- educational programs (Tux4Kids, GCompris, KDE educational suite, we could glimpse a little of Scratch)
- not have to learn Word, PowerPoint and Excel (Can you imagine a boy or a girl of 8 years having to write formulas, and formatting cells as the best they thought they were teaching?)
- but first at all to share, some guys took their pendrives to me asking for copies of the software we had installed on the school, and they loved the idea that they weren’t commiting neither piracy nor spreading viruses. And also could copy it and give it to their friends, or downloading new versions from the Internet.
After several months I volunteer at a community center with computer lab (a building dependant of the Autonomous University of Mexico City (Casa Talavera)), where we worked more freely and showcased the free and open source software to children and adults, even elder folks. It was a wonderful experience, full laboratory migrated to Ubuntu, the children especially loved the game tournaments we organized, in addition to support homeworks as requisite for some to get a chance to play with others. Other guys we had to settle for more support as friends, since they being very young (12-15 years) and already they had to help their parents at very hard work. A very difficult environment but it just left us lessons and experiences filled with emotion.
The elderly did not feel so drastic the change from Windows to GNU / Linux, but it was much more clear to them what was the idea of free software, and they had talked about this and we get them involved and contribute to the migration and support the workshop ICT literacy, some even brought their PC at home so that they be installing the new operating system that they liked seeing so much happier than the small kids :D, forgetting to check that virus and seeing all the games that we had running in the lab PC.
We also learned a lot from our fellow adults, as always posed challenges for which we had no lesson plans, we were anchored in part to the same office core curriculum is relatively useful in training for work, but does not respond to the needs of all adults, which as we learn, it is not the labor factor, a lot of they are more interested in acquiring learning skills they can apply to pursue a more self-learning and also more social.
In conclusion of this year, we learned that the proposed common core curriculum of digital citizenship, doesn’t always work. And we are study to better develop our proposals for future literacy projects with online extension for graduates of basic workshops.
- Learn how to design online courses in order to build better experiences aimed to the real needs of the communities in which we intend to continue Educate in Freedom.
- Working again with adult groups on ICTs literacy in a broader sense that ‘catch get to work.
- Update our educational curriculum for children in elementary school, through proposals to integrate the learning of computer science, with the exercise of their rights to identity, and freedom of opinion, research and dissemination of ideas.
- Partnering with online educational projects that allow us to contribute our experience and ideas to other processes as well as provide alternatives to outreach, continuing education to our students through online workshops.
Our inability to manage public spaces administrators working a regular schedule, even without more resources than the use of some computer equipment.
As we plan to overcome them
- Apply instructional design principles to our proposal for Literacy with ICT to adults, soon to get more spaces where we work with adults.
- Open our proposal ICT literacy with children, to open source community so that we can implement it more clearly in a classroom or after-school laboratory like Clubhouses (unfortunately, Casa Talavera of UACM will remain closed for bureaucratic decisions by the department of cultural diffusion.)
- Start to talk about our project, or similar, and their progress, cultural venues and other events free software. And once more outlined our proposals, to submit to various public institutions responsible for digital extension.
My first proposal, under development, based on shared experiences with people of Casa Talavera. (in Spanish)