CGP Grey has a video linked above that you should go watch. It explains the future of education and the direction that it’s already moving.
What I’m interested in is how Free Software and especially Ubuntu can be a part of that educational story. Currently the Ubuntu desktop is targeted towards desktop use, office productivity and social networking. While it’s true Edubuntu takes care of much of the thin client school deployment strategy; that’s not what the above video is pointing to.
Is being a college student or adult learner better on Ubuntu? The wikipedia lens would seem to suggest that we do have better integration at least of online services. But do we have better software? There’s nothing smart, yet, about the desktop that allows it to focus educational material or read-more type links towards individuals. We even struggle delivering help and guidance about the software itself directly to users, instead requiring a web browser to do these things.
But perhaps I’m getting way ahead of myself. Ubuntu could just be a simple job of delivering a web browser, with smarter and smarter servers. But somehow, a lot of this software is going to have to be on the desktop. And at this point we get to decide if that means turning the browser into a desktop and depreciating all our existing desktop APIs or building enough web enabled desktop extensions to our APIs. I just don’t know.
For now, I’m going to consider if any of the projects I’m involved with will play a part in this grander human project and how best the designs can align with that great story.
What are your thoughts?