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Fermi is a high school that isn't afraid of experiments. This year, besides a project to build a mini-rocket to be launched in 2011 and setting up a photovoltaic lab, they're trying to solve with open licenses a problem that costs every italian students from 300 to 500 Euros each year, the cost of textbooks, and are inviting other schools to participate.
Now, the spotlight is starting to focus on digital textbooks. One reason is an initiative from CK-12 Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to jump starting the distribution of textbooks in electronic formats.
The governor of California has launched a new initiative to compile open source textbooks for the state. He hopes that the plan will help cut costs and improve the quality of education. The effort seems very promising, but the state's complex standards and arduous textbook evaluation process will pose major challenges.
"I'm a computer science major who has been recently getting involved in local grassroots politics in my county and state. I've been discussing the idea with some of my state legislatures of submitting a couple of resolutions, opening up to the idea of switching to open source software in our state's K-12 schools.
GNU/Linux and free software are a boon to a lot of businesses, and a thorn in the sides of others. Both the friends and enemies of Linux are realizing that Linux is important, and that it is here to stay. HP is leveraging Linux to try to return from the brink of financial ruin.
One of the things I love to hear about is success stories of Linux in education, especially in the K12 arena. Early adoption and exposure to Linux and Open Source has the very positive effect of opening the horizons of these students to the vast array of options available to them.
To be honest, for a couple of years now I have been pretty skeptical about the future of Free and Open Source software in Finnish schools and education sector in general. In Finland we have a lot of open source expertise and know-how. We have developers. I also assume that majority of the (liberally) higher educated people in Finland, at least know what is "Open Source" and "Linux".
When Bassim Hamadeh was a student at the University of California, San Diego, he experienced firsthand the challenge of procuring the right textbooks for his classes. "They were high-priced, poor quality custom textbooks," Hamadeh says.