Digitally Free Schools
(a piece originally published at Digifreedom.net in 2006⁄2008, put back online here on 2018/05/17)
Do you look for Free (as in Freedom, of course) education?
Digifreedom would like to know from all visitors to this website and, in general, from any student or parent:
When selecting your next high-school / college / whatever for you or your children:
do you look for, and prefer, places where all the course material in digital format produced by the teachers (i.e. slides, exercises, not just, and notnecessarily the books) is made available in formats which are completely usable on every computer? Do you look for, and prefer places whose websites are fully usable by all students because they are done right? Why or why not? Remember that some software, even if legally available at no cost, may also make you spend more money by forcing you to buy a new computer, and that software contributes to both higher electricity bills and pollution.
If you are a Computer Science student: do you choose the institute based on the license they impose on the software you will develop while studying or working there?
If you don’t apply to a particular school or university for these specific reasons: do you take the time needed to let that institute (and all newspapers and Student Associations in their area) know why you chose to go somewhere else?
The Digitally Free Schools Database
Digifreedom intends to host an online database of schools/courses/teachers which grant to all their students and their families the Digital Freedoms discussed in the Family Guide to Digital Freedom. Stay tuned, or subscribe to our Rss feeds to know when this database will be available. To contribute to it, please contact us.
First version of the Database
At the moment (August 2008) the database consists of just the list of link which follows (new submissions are always welcome).
They are already enough, however, to prove that even today there are Digitally Free Schools in every corner of the globe. If the one where you or your children go isn’t in the list, please check with the teachers and principal what the reason is.
If your school is indeed Digitally Free, even partially, please let us know so we can add it to this list. If it isn’t, ask the principal why, and let us know what he or she says to justify the situation.
Links to other lists
Here are some links to external (by no means complete!) lists of schools and other educational institutions, private and public, which already use, at least in some classes or for part of their work, Free formats and software.
Links to specific schools
- Puglia, Taranto: The Professional School for Hoteling services and Catering in Crispiano uses Gnu/Linux and other Free Software and officially promotes its usage
- Sicily, Gela: Istituto Majorana was able to purchase twice the computers for their students when they decided to use all the available money only for hardware, instead of software licenses
- UK: Skegness Grammar School runs Gnu/Linux on all its 180 computers, as explained at Free Software Magazine
- Switzerland: the infrastructure of the New Media Department of the University of Zurich runs on Debian GNU/Linux. All lecturers can read and write file in OpenDocument format. The department’s office is equipped with Sun’s ODF plugin for MS Office, so they can at least read other people’s ODF documents
- Atlanta, Georgia: the Morris Brandon Elementary School
- California, Windsor: Windsor Unified School District: The district “saved green by going green by considering environmentally friendly technology solutions based on Free Software
- Maine, Houlton: Greater Houlton Christian Academy: a small, underfunded private school which was able to build a state-of-the art computer lab for our students as well as an advanced network for our faculty and staff, all for a fraction of the traditional cost. Also featured in Linux Journal, August 2008
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