Open Source Education goes Platinum

I wrote previously about my upcoming talk on open source education.  I'm happy to say that it went well, but for reasons I didn't anticipate.

The most exciting outcome for me was that after my talk, one of the people in the crowd introduced herself in order to take the discussion further.  This professor teaches business and marketing, and does research with companies to help them do strategic market research and analysis.  I did my best to distill open source, Mozilla, et al into an hour, and apparently it worked: the lights went on for her, and we skipped the last session so I could explain more deeply about the community process, the potential for data mining and analysis (bugzilla, CVS check-in logs, etc.), the current work being done to understand the global user base, etc.  She responded with a hundred ideas for taking it further.  I think open source marketing better make way!

If that wasn't enough, at dinner two of my colleagues and I were honoured with a Platinum award for our work on open source education.  John Selmys has been instrumental in spreading his passion for Linux into the high school system, taking Seneca's donated equipment and using LTSP to set-up open source labs.  Bob Boyczuk has turned FSOSS into a first-class conference--the list of speakers and workshops for this year is really looking good, and we've just added talks by people from Facebook, Nokia, and Microsoft.

Having this level of recognition by our peers helps us see that our work on open source education is being appreciated and becoming more mainstream.  Added to that the fact that we're now seeing ways to move open source curriculum/research out of a pure programming/development context, I think things are going to get even more interesting.