Making an impact in Public Education

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At the secondary school I’ve been pushing fairly hard to introduce libre software, libre content and libre learning resources, today I distributed a couple of copies of Elephants Dream, it looks like it will be added to the library system for loan. I ended up installing mplayer/mencoder for windows to create a VCD/SVCD/DVD video. Here the contents of the batch file, you can also just download the DVD from the site.

mencoder ElephantsDream_1024.avi -oac lavc -ovc lavc -of mpeg -mpegopts format=dvd -vf scale=720:576, harddup -srate 48000 -af lavcresample=48000 -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg2video:vrc_buf_size=1835:vrc_maxrate=9800:vbitrate=5000:keyint=15:acodec=ac3: abitrate=192:aspect=16/9 -ofps 25 -o Elephants_Dream.mpg

Most people would probably prefer to use a gui, on Ubuntu I just right click the file and select convert so maybe someone can suggest an easy way to do the same thing for windows users.

I was talking with school staff about the freedom toaster all day and what its going to take to get one in the library. It turns out the school has a store room with roughly 30-50 old computers, mainly pentium 2 and pentium 3’s so I could use one of them, its just a matter of selling the project successfully to the IT HOD.
I also met a really open minded english teacher and shared my knowledge of all things libre, defectivebydesign.org and recent events. He was really supportive and even suggesting to the other library staff member that we should be getting right into all the things I was mentioning.

Apart from wages, copyright is the highest cost in public education so its important to focus on libre knowledge resources for now. So lets take a quick look at the Libre content defintion.

  • the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
  • the freedom to redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
  • the freedom to make improvements or other changes, and to release modified copies

These freedoms should be universally available to absolutely anyone, anywhere. To the extent possible, they should not be restricted by the context in which the work is used.

When we listen to RadioTux Interview Wikimania 2005 we learn:

Wikipedia is the second example of the success of freedom in the development of useful practical works… Free Software was the first success… — Richard Stallman

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