[hackerspaces] [armin at easynet.co.uk: Re: [Bricolabs] Digital Inclusion???]

quemener.yves at free.fr quemener.yves at free.fr
Wed Feb 24 12:29:24 CET 2010

Sorry about this answer that is very France-centric, but recently a report made for/by the French ministry of Education surprisingly gives a few good hints at what should be done in the field of IT at school. It is mainly 70 propositions. Unfortunately the report is in French : http://www.reussirlecolenumerique.fr/pdf/Rapport_mission_fourgous.pdf

Here I roughly translate 3 of them that look interesting :

M14. Urgently create, in the copyright laws, an exception for educational purposes.
(Créer en urgence, dans le système juridique du droit d’auteur, une exception pédagogique facilitatrice et durable. )

M17. Create a national scrutiny agency for numerical resources, that will organize and make visible the public and private offers.
(Créer un Observatoire national des ressources numériques pour simplifier, organiser et rendre visible l’offre publique et privée.)

M23. Favor the development of "free" resources et the providing of non-paying resources
(Favoriser le développement de ressources « libres » et la mise à disposition de ressources non payantes.)

This is not yet a public position of the ministry (and unfortunately I think they will remove its substance before doing anything with it) but this is a public document made with public funds. That can give it some weight if some people here are looking for arguments in a debate with official authorities. 

I'd like also to point out that Pirate Parties exist in a lot of European countries as of today. They are in general a bit less competent technically than hackers but a lot more than politicians and will sometimes have interesting contacts (disclaimer : I'm part of the French pirate party)


----- "Hellekin O. Wolf" <hellekin at hackerspaces.org> a écrit :

> Here, Armin medosch reports on a recent international conference held
> in Vienna about the future of education, and especially the "need"
> for
> every pupil to have his own laptop. 
> What frightens me, and why I forward this contribution to our list,
> is
> that prominent proprietary software companies are actively lobbying
> to
> get their logo into the classroom, without any plan whatsoever
> regarding how the laptops should be used, or how they could be
> misused
> in education. They target poor countries, as well as young children.
> The corporate world is short-cicuiting the democratic process.
> Instead
> of a public debate involving the population, we have a nice room full
> of grey people pushing for one device per pupil, period. Here, once
> again, reflection is replaced by the imperative for economic
> outcomes.
> What a wonderful market those children. Their number keeps growing,
> and they will become in turn consumers, and maybe, for some of them,
> producers. What do they learn in the meantime? That This-Company(TM)
> put them on the track out of poverty, maybe, in the best case. On
> public spending of course.
> What about free software? Literacy? DIY? Grassroots initiatives? I'm
> surprised that this kind of international meeting can happen after
> the
> Free Culture Forum Charter has been released. Well, not surprised
> entirely, but certainly disappointed that it didn't reach the
> educational world yet--although you know how much good I think of
> top-down initiatives anyway.
> ==
> hk
> ----- Forwarded message from Armin Medosch <armin at easynet.co.uk>
> -----
> Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2010 10:06:13 +0100
> To: Bricolabs startup mailinglist <brico at lists.dyne.org>
> From: Armin Medosch <armin at easynet.co.uk>
> Subject: Re: [Bricolabs] Digital Inclusion???
> List-Id: Bricolabs startup mailinglist <brico.lists.dyne.org>
> Hi all,
> I am joining in, a bit late, on this digital inclusion topic. It
> seems
> to me that in the transition from fordism to postfordism certain
> topics
> and terms which 10 or 20 years ago still could be considered to stem
> from the left and alternative eco-socio-cultural movements have
> become
> major governmental policies, driven by multilateral bodies such as
> the
> EU, UNO, Worldbank, and digital inclusion is one of them. The major
> drive is to create a pull factor, an attraction for people to make
> themselves available for the capitalist economy. But behind the
> 'inclusive' approach is still lurking coercion and punishment for
> those
> who cant or are unwilling to join the new productive cycle of
> capital.
> In this context, another term to watch is 'holistic'. It is the new
> logic of the networked society which is aiming at the self, at the
> deep
> core of human subjectivity to become the new productive force. And
> is considered central for it. 
> This became painfully obvious to me at a conference in Vienna,
> Austria,
> in recent days, about 1-to-1 in education. by 1-to-1 they mean that
> every school student should have her or his own laptop. This idea
> goes
> back a long way but certainly got a big push forward with the OLPC
> project. The conference was organised by OECD, Worldbank and
> Interamerican Bank of Development. Attending were mostly people from
> ministries of education, among them many from Latin America, which is
> a
> reason why I share this here. I haven't got the time to write a full
> conference report but overall it was quite shocking and it is to be
> expected that this policy will create more harm than good. The
> problem
> can be summed up in the tendency that rather than focusing on
> educational reform and social issues, the main focus will be on
> closing
> the digital divide by giving netbooks to children without policies in
> place on what should actually be achieved with those. 
> It seems the multilateral agencies have together with multinational
> corporations adopted new language and new policies which incorporate
> the
> idea of the Schumpeterian "creative entrepreneur". While this may
> remind
> many of the 1990s and the New Economy this has become mainstremed now
> as
> an idea that reshapes the educational system. As the Microsoft agent
> said, you cant start early enough, which is why they now focus on
> learning software for kindergarten level. Just some of the buzzwords
> mentioned most frequently:
> the Interamerican Bank wants to drive "disruptive innovation in
> learning" which means that if necessary it has to "force changes in
> practices". This bank is giving huge loans to countries in Latin
> America
> so they can buy XOs and netbooks. The worldbank is involved in
> "reengineering processes and systems" in a very creative and holistic
> way of course. The OECD delegate reminded participants of the "2nd
> digital divide" which means that pupils with laptops but little
> "social
> capital" might fail to make good use of them. He also openly said
> that
> there is "an industry behind it", so 1-2-1 is a nice opportunity for
> governments to support the ICT industry in difficult times ...
> Peru is setting out on an ambitious project to give 600.000 XOs to
> poor
> kids in remote mountain areas by the end of the year. The government
> representative admitted it was a problem that in those areas many
> teachers fail basic literacy tests. So what those XOs will be used for
> -
> they carried bright Windows logo on the screen in the back of the
> powerpoint presentation, by the way - remains to be seen. The
> representative from Israel showed the most comprehensive "classroom
> management system', i.e. a student surveillance tool as part of a
> strategy of creatings "vital solutions for providing school students
> with the economic and social utilities to compete in global market
> place". The representative from Austria seemed to be unhappy that
> school
> students could not be fully observed during their spare time so they
> give them netbooks and incentives to twitter their every moment of
> home
> and spare time. The Brasilian project presented was Pirai Digital
> which
> achieved the highest word count of "innovative" of all participants,
> while Spain tries to brand 1-2-1 as part of Escuela 2.0
> It is hard to convey how awful all this was at this conf, but we
> should
> not be mistaken by surface appearances. While these are buerocrats,
> i.e.
> rooms full of middle aged people in suits (or female equivalent of
> business class dressing) the 'holistic' policies they are driving are
> much nearer - in some ways, in some ways of course not - to the
> themes
> and desires circulating on bricolist. The idea formed by the
> multilateralists is that high-tech plus creativity, plus community,
> plus
> inclusion, plus ecofriendly will form a big junk of the new
> productive
> paradigm sustaining economic growth in the next 20 years. the
> flipside
> of that is of course surveillance, military technologies, etc., and
> those things get rebundled in the process of "creative destruction"
> in
> an entirely new holistic way
> To end on a positive note: what became also obvious at this
> conference
> is that they really do have very few recipes on how to use 1-2-1 in a
> creative way. So I think one way is to reject all this and opt out.
> But
> there is also a dire need for concepts that make sense, for different
> practices, for examples how ICT, FLOSS and so on and so forth can be
> used in education. One problem is that those government people only
> go
> by the book and there is very little written evidence about this
> world
> we inhabit of open labs, workshop culture, etc; thus, we need to make
> a
> better effort in making implicit tactics explicit, in writing up
> exmples
> that worked, in documenting practices. I think fears of
> 'recuperation'
> or 'cooptation' are unjustified, because on a policy level 'we' have
> already been recuperated - which is an umcomfortable lesson I draw
> from
> this experience
> cheers
> armin
> -- 
> thenextlayer software, art, politics http://www.thenextlayer.org
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