Mother explains why everybody should attend the 2009 Linux Day

October 24th, 2009, will be Linux Day in Italy. You may think that such events are only relevant for software geeks, but that’s not the case at all.

Last year Serena, a mother of two in Padova, participated to the Family Corner of the Padova Linux Day. Today her advice to all italian parents and teachers is:

In the "Padova Linux day Family Corner" they don't sit to watch cartoons, they PRODUCE THEM. VISIT IT AND BRING ALL YOUR FAMILY WITH YOU!

What the kids did last year was unbelievable and Raffaella (Traniello, ndr), the coordinator, was just great! She gave the kids a camcorder and a computer. Then, using only Free Software, and only thanks to Free Software, the kids drew objects, cut and edit static scenes and created movies with them. Initially they were very shy, but very soon they realized that they weren't supposed to sit and watch, they could grab, touch, play, experiment and... create cartoons! They figured out how the software works in a flash and started to work in teams: you move that piece, I move the other, you press that button, I move the mouse... and when they were finished they also had fun playing in the courtyard!

Besides this specific application, Serena recommends the Linux Day to all parents and teachers who “would like to find new ways to communicate with their teenagers or are sick and tired of empty, lifeless eyes staring at worms fighting on a screen and of ears apparently deaf to any input that doesn’t sound like chat, download or IM…"

because, according to her own experience:

All too often we parents and teacher think that, education-wise, computers are only a problem to “manage”, in order to minimize the damage it can do to our kids. The truth is that WE are the problem. Computers are just machines and they aren’t even too complex ones. You don’t need specific training to “manage” them, it only takes a bit of logic and effort to transform a computer in your educational ally!

I think it's ESSENTIAL that normal people know Linux and start using it. Today's kids live of and within computers, therefore that's just another context we need to start from for their education. If it is my duty, as a parent, to educate my kids by inculcating in them concepts like equality, tolerance, communal life, civic sense, altruism, willingness to help others, altruism, FREEDOM, thinking with their own brains and so on... well, surely I can and should use also computers for such a task, and specifically LINUX, which thanks to its community and underlying philosophy can be an excellent "educational method".

Beyond education and cartoons

Serena's words perfectly explain why understanding the real role of ICT in our lives is a duty that all parents and teachers have towards their kids and students.

This said, the value of Free Software as educational tool within families and schools is not the only reason to discover this world. On October 24th there will be many other moments, in the Linux Day events throughout Italy, which will be both useful and interesting even if you have no interest in software programming. In Palermo, for example, there will be talks about web radio and computer based games or DVRs. In Sommacampagna, instead, Officina OS3 will explain how to use Free Software to save from the landfils thousands of still working computers. You can find links to more initiatives like these in the comments to this article or in the programs of the several Linux Days across Italy. A Linux Day has something interesting for everybody. Discovering what it is only depends on you.