Digital Freedom in Education

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Digital Freedom in Education cover photo.

November 14, is celebrated as Children’s Day all over India commemorating the birthday of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. Digital Freedom Foundation(DFF) and Free Software Movement of Maharashtra celebrated this occasion by organising an event to promote awareness about ‘Digital Freedom in Education’. The event was hosted by Keshav Gore Smarak Trust in Goregaon, Mumbai who also provided us amenities to organise the event. Several residents of Goregaon, especially teachers and even people from other parts of Mumbai turned up for the event.

The event began with an introductory session in which both speakers and audience introduced themselves. Later Sidharth Adelkar of FSMM gave an introductory speech about free software and its importance in education. This was followed by a presentation by Krishnakant Mane, the founder of DFF that elaborated the philosophy behind free software and its relevance in every walk of life. He followed with demonstrations of a GNU/Linux desktop operating system(Ubuntu) and its accessibility using Orca.

Abhijith from DFF demonstrated a GNU\Linux distribution built for schools – Zorin OS Education and various software that comes with it. This was followed by detailed demonstrations of software relevant for schools. Prajkta Patkar from DFF gave a demo of Kalzium. Reshma Bhatawdekar of DFF gave a demo of Gcompris – a playful educational suite for kids. Kranti Ghag of FSMM demonstrated GeoGebra – a mathematical software for schools. She also came up with sarcasms targeted at various forces restricting our freedom in daily life. Guru Dhamal of FSMM demonstrated Blender – a 3D creation software which according to him serves the purpose of for four or five different proprietary software.

The audience were given a few laptops that they could share among themselves to gain hands on experience of working on the software that were demonstrated by speakers. Several questions were asked by the audience during and after the demonstrations. The response from audience meant our efforts at answering them were fruitful.

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