What if all schools could afford a technology-rich device for every child? What if schools were unchained from costly software upgrade cycles? What if students were trusted with technology and given the freedom to explore and experiment with their school-issued devices? Open source software offers flexible, scalable and powerful learning platforms for all public schools. And open source principles promote technological freedom of choice, intellectual curiosity and a collaborative community spirit – values essential to preparing students for college, careers and beyond.
With over 3500 Linux systems, Penn Manor School District has implemented the largest open source school laptop program in Pennsylvania. Penn Manor High School recently distributed 1700 school-supplied laptops exclusively loaded with Linux and open source software as part of the district’s 1:1 learning initiative. This session will outline our open source educational philosophy and review challenges to wide-scale adoption of open source in education. Key to this talk is a discussion of our unique student apprenticeship program, where high school students form the core of a sophisticated help desk team, and write code used by their peers everyday.