August 4, 2007

F/OSS projects as educational institutions

Category: F/OSS,Research,Tech — Biella @ 9:10 am

Free software projects are informal (though becoming more formal) institutions that function in multiple capacities. Foremost, they are sites that facilitate the production and distribution of technology but they certainly allow for and produce all sorts of other social facts and processes. And one of the most important is that free software projects function as quasi-educational institutions that are structured quite differently from formal educational institutions. And this blog entry by Justin Podur that reviews a book by Alfie Kohn of alternative eduction, reminded me just how much F/OSS projects are informal educational spaces but deviate significantly from traditional learning.

I have more thoughts on the type of “schooling” F/OSS allows but since I am moving to my new apt. in a few hours, it will have to wait until later.


  1. More Learning

    A handful of provocations — Biella’s note about F/OSS projects as educational institutions, Scott McLemee’s column on the Open Library, continual reading at Stephen Downes’s place, and as something of a counterexample, IHE&rsquo…

    Trackback by AKMA’s Random Thoughts — August 9, 2007 @ 4:26 am

  2. Biella, welcome to NYC! You and Leonard (my husband) and I should hang out sometime.

    I definitely am using an open source project right now as my own personal software development school. I specifically chose to learn Python, and thus decided to join a FLOSS project written in Python to help me learn both Python and the dev process in general. The project is Miro (

    Comment by Sumana Harihareswara — August 22, 2007 @ 10:19 am

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