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Mako on the OLPC and Free Software

Benjamin Mako Hill writes a post called “Laptop Liberation” on the importance of Free Software as the platform for the OLPC project.

Mako writes, “I gave a talk at Penguicon called Laptop Liberation where I talked about why I thought that OLPC’s use of a free software operating system and embrace of free software principles was essential for the initiative’s success and its own goals of education reform and empowerment. I’ve been saying similar things for some time.”

He points out the similarities between the OLPC’s educational philosophy of Constructionism and the way the Free Software world itself functions–they’re largely identical:

“Constructionism and free software, implemented and taught in a classroom, offer a profound potential for exploration, creation, and learning. If you don’t like something, change it. If something doesn’t work right, fix it. Free software and constructionism put learners in charge of their educational environment in the most explicit and important way possible. They create a culture of empowerment. Creation, collaboration, and critical engagement becomes the norm.”

Keeping control over one’s technology means keeping control over one’s destiny. This is the promise of open source/free software, and of the OLPC project.

“We can help foster a world where technology is under the control of its users, and where learning is under the terms of its students — a world where every laptop owner has freedom through control over the technology they use to communicate, collaborate, create, and learn.”

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