“Which strategy do you believe is the right one to use to get schools to use free software?
I am really convinced that in our school project "IT-Zukunft Schule" we have developed (and keep developing) a great way to get schools to use Free Software. We have written a detailed concept for that so I cannot explain the whole thing here. But in a nutshell the strategy has three crucial pillars:
- We really take time to get what sort of stories, questions and concerns the schools head and the teachers have about using different kinds of IT and we take time to enrol them into Free Software.
- Our solution for schools is never just technical. In the centre are always the people who are going to use the software. From the very beginning of the planning for a school, we tell the schools head that they are paying us not only for a technical solution for their school, they also pay us for leading all the communication processes needed. If they do not want that, we are not working with them because we cannot give a guarantee for the quality of our work then.
- Another focus lies in the training of teachers and students in co-administrating the IT-System at their school. They start getting in contact with the Skolelinux / Debian Edu community and they get the offer to become more and more independent from us.
There, you have it, a recipe for successfully migrating a school to GNU/Linux. It is vitally important to have all users sharing information about motivations and resources available. In my experience younger teachers are most accepting of the wonderful resources of FLOSS available with GNU/Linux. Some older teachers I have known did not even want to use any PC… Many more want nothing to do with IT except routine stuff like writing memos and e-mail. A school thrives when teachers and students all want to make the best use of IT to get education done. In most schools students are the greatest resource in IT but the least used. Putting that youthful energy to work is key. Teachers can lead, follow, or get out of the way…