Located in a sleepy village simply two hours away from the bustling metropolis of Mumbai is a faculty that defies conventional instructional fashions by collaboratively proudly owning, constructing, and sharing data and know-how. The college makes use of solely open supply software program and in its method to studying, and takes satisfaction in the truth that none of its college students have used and even seen proprietary software program, together with the ever present Windows working system.
The Tamarind Tree School, positioned in Dahanu Taluka, Maharashtra, India, is an experiment in open schooling. Open schooling is a philosophy about how individuals produce, share, and construct on data and know-how, advocating a world during which schooling is for social good, and everybody has equal alternative and entry to schooling, coaching, and data.
Why open schooling?
The college’s founders consider that the commodification and possession of data is the first cause for the inequity in entry to high quality instructional assets. While the Internet could have created a proliferation of digital content material and studying instruments, the connection between know-how creation, data constructing, entry, and possession stays skewed for most individuals in society.
The development towards costly main faculties in India, copyrights on studying movies, educational journals, and software program, “free” instructional apps, and the manufacturing of laptops and units help the concept data is owned and managed by a number of.
Many individuals confuse free utilization with free entry. But freedom akin to possession and collaboration amongst customers is decreased or eradicated when studying communities don’t really feel empowered to construct their very own digital units, arrange their very own networks, or create their very own digital studying instruments. As a consequence, many learners unknowingly turn out to be thieves (as seen within the rampant use of pirated software program in India) or compromise their basic freedom to personal and interact with the digital world on their phrases. This actuality is much more grim in rural India, the place deprived communities are denied entry or equal alternative to the digital world.
How can we create a world the place everybody enjoys entry to high quality schooling? One method is to basically change the way in which data and know-how are owned and managed.
The open supply motion affords an answer.
Open schooling relies on the premise that data needs to be collaboratively constructed and shared by all. It believes in creating producers and collaborators of data moderately than customers of it.
How we implement open schooling
Based on these values and philosophies, the Tamarind Tree college has been experimenting with a number of open supply choices:
1. Single-board computer systems
The college has been capable of keep away from proprietary , because of the work of organizations world wide that construct single-board computer systems. A single-board laptop (SBC) is a whole laptop constructed on a single circuit board, full with microprocessor(s), reminiscence, enter/output (I/O), and different required options.
The college chosen a strong, reasonably priced SBC constructed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and makes use of it to show youngsters programming abilities and computational pondering. Students at Tamarind Tree get pleasure from coding and programming utilizing the visible programming instrument Scratch on these hardy open supply machines.
2. Open supply gamified software program and open instructional assets
The college, which makes use of solely open instructional assets (OERs), employs a mixture of open digital instruments like Gcompris, Tux Math, Tux Paint, Jfraction, and applications from the open supply KDE Community to show English, math, and science in a enjoyable, interactive method.
three. My Big Campus studying administration system
To allow related, contextual studying, Tamarind Tree arrange its personal studying administration system, which is hosted on the open supply platform Moodle. Students as younger as 7 years outdated can go browsing to their programs, together with a facilitator, and are guided to totally different on-line and offline actions. The system additionally helps individualized studying. The curriculum hosted at My Big Campus is derived from the National Council of Educational Research and Training in New Delhi. Students get pleasure from answering quizzes, commenting on photos and blogs, creating digital artwork, and extra. Courses are created contextually, grading could be completed on-line, and college students can be taught at their very own tempo.
Tamarind Tree additionally has a facility the place any pupil with a digital machine can learn books, articles, or information studies from a group of greater than three,000 assets hosted on the varsity’s e-library server. The e-library, which is up to date constantly, has been arrange on the single-board laptop and makes use of the Calibre open supply library administration system to prepare, tag, and add assets. All books hosted on the server are within the public area or maintain a Creative Commons license.
As college students construct data by creating and taking part in their very own laptop video games and taking part in different instructional actions, academics can customise course supplies to suit the wants of particular person learners via digital content material and native assets. The college’s aim is to ascertain that data and know-how could be totally constructed, owned, and managed by studying communities by utilizing open supply instructional assets.
Is the way forward for schooling open?
Open schooling will help construct a society that may present free and open entry to schooling and data for all individuals with a need to be taught. The Tamarind Tree School demonstrates the potential of making an academic mannequin that believes within the democratization of data.