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Free educational tools for education and society

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Of course it has become high time for old-fashioned papers replace school books by digital versions. But then we put as much as a number extra require to that digital book: freedom them unhindered and without costing use to be allowed, to improve and at kopieren. The time is ripe for free educational tools. Introduction

Unhindered access to educational sources results nationally in economic growth and a higher prosperity cog nature. Internationally it is a manner poverty and famine structurally call to a halt. Access to free knowledge is an important means ignorance, extremism and women - and reduce race discrimination. Moreover development of people the best weapon is against terrorism.

The complete discussion concerning too expensive school books can become stopped by using more simply no conventional school books. The alternative? Free educational tools in digital form! It is technical well possible electronic book by means of to maintain exactly and available to put. How do we will ensure that they are free and without costing be to use?

The strength of free educational tools sits in the licentie. This licentie ensures that you can to use, kopieren, even change book and to sell, as long as you do not obtain the special licentie there as from. One calls this also copyleft licensing (in contrast to copyright). This principle is already applied a lot of years successfully for free software and the associated guides. For educational tools it is a revolutionist - but feasable - concept. An example

The principle is illustrate best with an example. If a couple people paid or unpaid chapters letters of a math book and everyone has to access to the source text and images with freedom change it and to improve by means of exactly then that will happen very probable also. Moreover people have a natural inclination cooperate as a result of which such a math book an active project can become where affects also teachers, parents and students involved.

The licentie prevents abuse and guarantees that everyone has to use freedom the source material, change, at kopieren and to even press and sell. The licentie that uses for this would have is in the spirit of (or litterally) the GNU Free Documentation License or GFDL.

There its many examples our gone which work on this principle. Most of the software which on Internet servers mail - and control web traffic have a similar licentie for free software. A can on the impressive list of free parcels in Debian says more than words. The online encyclopaedia Wikipedia appears as an example dense at free educational tools because it also mainly text exists. If random Article is consulted then is to the lower part of the page see that GNU Free Documentation License to is also coupled. Short points

  • Costs of educational tools will decrease drastically...
    • o Prices of elektronisce datadragers and distribution costs concerning are exactly negligible o The costs for developing a book are particularly low if there many volunteers touch at concerned
  • Unhindered access to free educational tools. Learning substance is available for every schoolboy. Niet-scholieren can boost their level also.
  • Papers expenditure remain desirable, because many people gladly do not read of a baffle for example, but the use of paper can be brought back, however, drastically.
  • Papers expenditure will be payable because the rights no longer lie at the editors: everyone can print it or presses therefore there can healthily be competed with or differently there simply be copied.
  • Permanent arrangement concerning a rag top/computer is desirable. This will mean that there what higher costs will arise by energy usage.
  • The licentie allows from other work the bests obtain, and improve if to complete: efficient reuse of economic efforts.
  • Free educational tools are simple up to keep date. We must years no longer wait up to guilders from books have disappeared, to borders is again signed.
  • Too heavy portfolios belong to the past, an average middle school training is appropriate easily on DVD.
  • How more earlier we convert this concept into actions, all the rather we reap of it the benefits.
  • The licentie prohibits the use of closed standards (such as doc). The consequence of it is that free educational tools on every platform are readable and bewerkbaar.

What is desirable?

  • There is budget necessary for pilot products one or more useful free books from to originate. Some considerations:
    • o A good system of free educational tools exists from a type of barrel with educational information scraps (microcontent) which you can classify to wish to a learning programme. That is future music, it is worked for, but it is not adult enough and there are hobbels still a lot. For this reason... o It is in the first place judicious commitment on digital free books which are possibly also in pressed implementation available. o education institutions must be made confessed the concept and the philosophy behind free educational tools.

      o To develop free educational tools collective it has been required that a ontwikkelomgeving on a server made true errors is communicated can become, the educational tools themselves and supplements published to become, contact data of the project members to stand, etc... This is similar with bijv. Savannah and SourceForge for software developers.

      • Suitable free software has been limited presently, is in development or must still from scratch be written. It is important here too of making budget.
        • + If it is necessary software to write then serves that free (source) software to be. Because of this the complete world population can use of it. + There must intensively be cooperated with existing projects where we have contacts (we do not have the wheel again invent, the strength of free software are continue building on efforts of others). Some examples:
          • # A server for exercises, with some hundreds free exercises: Wims (GPL, localisations: cn, fr, and, Netherlands, it, ash) # A virtual campus, with tools for cooperation, a cursus "management for students", linkbaar with Wims: Epistemon (GPL, localisations: fr, and, ash) # A server for typesetting of educational documents from available microcontent (informatieblokjes): Exomatik (GPL, localisations: fr)
  • In the spirit of the GFDL work is very important. At closer study of the GFDL there also disadvantages appear stick to the use of the GFDL. Within Debian-gemeenschap are founded find criticism. Of the challenges of the free educational tools project choosing correct licentievorm is without doubt.
  • In spite of the fact that it is malignant for now commitment on free learning books is it also a good idea effort of stopping in the microcontent approach. Thereby a database is moored with brokjes information which you can combine randomly to free lessons, semesterprogramma's or totally several books.

Government and political

  • Passionate idealists develop to this concept from the inside out must and will let grow. The government serves with care the correct partners chooses.
  • If we look at to free software then seeing we an enormous economic advantage for the EU (some confessed drag monopolists annually billion from the EU direction the US). Unfortunately we must observe that it much last too long before there is effectively a change visible and we reap of it all together the benefits (directive Vendrik DC and OSS for example).
    • Such a scenario is also for free educational tools conceivable and that sin would be. The costs of making a free learning book are only one part of the annual turnover of a not free book whereas the distribution costs are negligible. Beleggers dream of such a return or investment. In other words: adopt an active attitude, help it go smoothly of the ground to get because it has been seen economically a fantastic chance.


  • Eu-subsidieaanvraag that in 2003, with a number of institutions - among which Fsf-Europe - are done have not been remunerated. Cause is partly it hastily fills in, partly the fact that it has been done a professionally by is not acknowledged office and partly the fact that the Commission will have understood nothing of, does not slaughter himself the chicken with gouden the eggs.
  • State Secretary Nijs saw it slightly in 2004, but its continuator Rutte gave to no need have to succeed the existing appointment.
  • From OCW after conversations in 2005, it has not been reacted to the initiative, supposedly because "with difficulty it to place" is.
  • In 2005, there the blog van Jan Marijnissen with a step 2 are: Develop "in own management of new methods is stimulated". That is a shot in the buurt of the rose! As political hard makes oneself really for free educational tools then makes that the steps 1 (abolish VAT) and 3 (books from lump sum pay) total superfluous, there need no more costs be.


In the press

  • TeleRead: Dutch Socialist party wants free text books by Branko Collin

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