School

  • Preface This essay expands a proposal on Open Data in schools that I made in 2011, which requires very little, if any, funding and central authorization/coordination to be implemented. As of this writing, I know of no other proposal of the same kind, with the exception of this 2012 presentation from New Zealand. Also, I have not heard of any large scale implementation, or had occasion to do any real work on this topic.
  • A couple of weeks ago I was invited at the first National Open Government Partnership Forum in Skopje, Macedonia, for the panel titled “OGP-related Initiatives at the Local Level - Comparative Perspectives”. Here’s a short trip report, complete of link to my slides. The Forum included a good summary of the OGP/Open Data landscape, from which I’d like to quote, in no particular order (*) some remarks and statements I’ve found more interesting for me and (as far as I can tell, of course!
  • (this is a proposal for a talk and related workshop that I submitted for a conference that took place in autumn 2013. The proposal was accepted but eventually didn’t happen due to lack of funding for travel expenses. Since the idea is not tied to that specific event in any way, here it is) Young people have always been critical of politics and public institutions in general. This, of course, is absolutely natural and even necessary, to a degree.
  • I participated to the 2013 Open Data Week in Marseille to lead a workshop on an idea I had a couple years ago, one that seems to be more and more ready to seriously take off every month: Open Data in and from schools. While in Marseille, I first heard about Open Data developments in Sayada and the rest of Tunisia. Then I also heard that… OpenFoodFacts is great and needs you The free, open and collaborative database of food products OpenFoodFacts is great.
  • I just got a request to run a workshop on “Open Data in and from Schools” next week, at the Open Data Week in Marseille. (added 2013/06/21, 07:30) IMPORTANT: please note that this is NOT, I repeat, NOT about creating and using open data ABOUT schools, in order to run them better, monitor their “performances” or anything like that. This is about things to do in class or as homework, with very very basic computer skills, even when there is only computer per school with only very slow/intermittent connectivity!
  • A while ago I asked Italian blogger Francesca Sanzo if she was interested to meet via Skype, to exchange ideas. The result was, if I may say so, interesting in a much more general way than I had imagined. For clarity, I’ve reformatted and synthesized our talks in two parts: the first presents Francesca’s background and work. The second sums up her answers on cyberbullying, which impressed me because, even if I had sent the questions weeks before, by pure chance the actual conversation took place only hours after the Sandy Hook tragedy.
  • Last fall, as a follow-up of my participation to CONSEGI 2011 in Brasilia, and in the context of my Open Data for Education proposal, I asked several Brazilian teachers to share if and how they were using Open Data to teach. These are, in no particular order, the first answers I got. I hope they will stimulate more contacts and exchange of experiences and best practices in this field, among them, and all other teachers worldwide who are interested in this topic.
  • The italian Province of Rome just announced a school orientation guide. Its goal, according to Provincial Councillor for School Policies Rita Paola Stella, is to: help students and families to find the best school for their future in the simplest, quickest and most exhaustive manner possible... `[providing]` also useful information on logistics, transportation, number and types of laboratories in each school... This is possible mainly with the online version of the guide, which works as a sort of school search engine.
  • update 2012 01 18 12:45 GMT +1: I have realized only now, reading the comments, that there is one more reason after Francesco’s outburst that isn’t immediately clear but makes certain replies a bit less valid. Unlike what happens with lots of successful FOSS products, Francesco’s software is something that is absolutely useless outside Italy, even if it were localized, so his market is much smaller than that for something like Linux, apache, etc… simply because he implements specific procedures that only exist, in that format, inside italian schools, because they must be compliant with italian laws etc…
  • Please have a look at these pictures, taken in November 2010: The first two show the check-in area of the Emergency Room and, respectively, the counters where citizens can book specialist check-ups of one public hospital in Rome. The third picture is a communication from a public school in Rome that says, more or less: parent candidates for the school board must submit a list with their names using the paper form available in the secretary’s office.