There’s a great video from the Future of Technology in Education (@FOTiE) conference which was recently hosted by the University of London Computing Centre. It’s of a keynote by Miles Berry who talks specifically about open source in education and how he’s pushing for a more collaborative community in usage.
There were a few salient points during his brief keynote (20 minutes).
Free as in Kittens
The first is his apt description of the real cost of Moodle. Most often open source software is described as “free as in beer/free as in speech”, but his better analogy is “free as in kittens” which I can level with immediately. In my own words, the attraction is that you get a cool piece of customizable software that grows with you and your organization. But the attraction/adoption comes with an upkeep cost overtime. Kittens, as with Moodle, require care, nurturing and sustenance (without any of those it’s sure to perish).
Later in the talk Mr. Berry talks more specifically about Moodle and the current constraints on collaboration that the software has inadvertently imposed. Specifically the difficulty in sharing and collaborating on course content. Moodle 2.0’s hub feature will most certainly make this a moot critique, but it’s valid currently and perhaps has held back a more rapid expansion of users. Paraphrasing Mr. Berry, Moodle is such a great resource that many teachers have adopted it, but rather than working collaboratively on content that would be inherently better than what they could create independently, teachers world wide are created their own individual, unique content sets.
I tend to agree.
The whole video is an enjoyable watch/listen. Catch it at the FOTE website [http://fote-conference.com/videos/videos-session-4/; bottom of the page] or embedded below.