Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First results for Education project

First, Happy New Year 2008 and Seasons Greatings to all !

Co Lead, with Louis Suarez Potts (Sun ) of Education project, since two months, I replaced Sophie Gautier (Linagora) and I think the New Year is a good occasion to provide the first results.

Education project has an exceptional potential, but everything had to be done. The first urgency was to organize a bit.

We did big progress, because people help a lot, and I'd like to thank people like Raphael Bircher and Nicolas Jeudy for the big work on the website, and Ben Bois for the Logo !

Thanks to Frederic Diaz, Frederic Ollivier and Guy Veyssiere too, for a lot of little things, not always visible, but extremely important.

After some times, of brainstorming, I have analized the situation, and this blog entry is a draft. Of course, I'll reformulate correctly my proposal on the next IRC meeting

1) The begining :

Education Project is an incubator project, officialy created around April 2006.

Existing actions before I joined the project :

Louis Suarez Potts forwarded important infos on the mailing list, and this is an extremely helpfull begining: all the direction pointed by Louis are open and interesting tracks, and I fully agree with the ideas behind this.

For Further informations, see message 1 and message 2 from Louis.

Sophie Gautier explained me all informations concerning French project are available on fr mailing lists archives. e.g. a french dedicated book for secondary school has been written, in collaboration with SCEREN.

2) Actions started since November 2007 :

- New website creation ( currently work in progress )
- Wiki page
- Dedicated welcome in english. Same in French
- an IRC channel has been created, to facilitate the contact with newcomers,
- Weekly meetings (most of the time)
- A common blog for active contributors to Education Project
- fr-educ mailing list has been created, and is very active

3) The current situation of in Education System ( French Education system is reference here, but things should be similar elsewhere )

Feedback :

After asking teachers and professors who returned feedback, I discovered several important issues. Some points below are feedback from Peter Junge from RedFlag 2000.

- acceptance is low in Education System ( all locales are concerned ). At least it is not what expected.
- there are important MS Office compatibility issues, causing a brake for migrations: companies, administrations ask for .doc e.g. , and one little default in the conversion becomes redhibitive for acceptance.
- is not much used in Education, because not the first in place, VBA compatibility issues .. etc
- there is intensive lobbying from Microsoft e.g. in most of the places, and introduce in schools ( all levels ) seems to be extremely complicated

The main causes of the problem enounced above (please help to improve the list):

- installation of is an issue (e.g. network install on Windows, in most of the cases, is not well known)
- some issues reported since a long time, but never fixed, are a reason to not migrate to e.g. : issue 972 : misalignement of equations in formulaes
- compatibility issues ( a lot are reported ) with MS Office format, or new MS Office format

As you can see above, the problem is complicated, and will involve other projects from and lead to define precisely Education Project place in

4) Development :

One of the main idea behind Education project: find developers. Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay helped a lot and proposed very interesting ideas.

Draft of existing cases. See examples

Everything is reported on the wiki page, in a sort of Todo list (please help us ! )

Strategy for the project

Please have a look at the First draft

Proposed Roadmap for 2008 ( to be improved and rewritten)

A) To improve and to structure the Education Project :

- describe and improve Education Team ( people , photos, skills .. etc inventory, and write a dedicated page on the website, to give us a face )
- connect with other projects, to define the exact place of Education project
- create the dedicated association, to collect funds for expenses in Education project
- find sponsors and partners
- continue to improve the website: add tools management, localization, define rules for tools hosting, ..etc

B) Documentation :

- start from basics about the project
- write documentation for Windows (i.e. Linux or Mac OS X ) installation, dedicated for schools environments. [ needs important energy ]
- write a documentation for newcomers, explaining how use efficiently and take care of the feedback
- PCIE/ECDL : European Computer Driving License / Passeport de Competences Informatique Europeen ( Note: extremely important for the project )
- Certification : Education project can contribute, to analyse what is different between user needs and education needs
- Help for OO.o Curricula in University , proposed by Michael Huai from RedFlag 2000
- create a DataBase (Raphael ? ) for tools and videos available on the site

C) Development

- improve the welcome for students : be present at FOSDEM 2008 , doing workshop for code
- continue to identify schools using, and improve the partner's list
- continue to ask for feedback, and valorize the work people did for
- work on issues like issue 972, documenting everything, and keep traces for newcomers
- test moodle for content management (courses)
- find peers professors / students for applications in developement
- propose applications : e.g. fix little bugs, and create a cws

D) French part :

- continue to improve the academic contacts network, and the visibility of the project
- be present at Solution Linux 2008 ( Paris )
- valorize important tools, and contributors ( OOoHG , Dmaths, DSciences .. etc )
- localize the website
- PCIE/ECDL : European Computer Driving License / Passeport de Competences Informatique Europeen
- start to work with volunteers
- work with Pole de Competences , SCEREN and CNDP

That's all for today :-)

Thanks again to Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay to have read my draft before publication.