Very appropriate that my first session at NECC is David Thornburg's session on Open Source. I began reading his thoughts years ago, in my Masters' program at NCSU. In fact, his book that I just received an autographed copy of today, was one I bought for a course. While not thinking much of it at the time, things definitely came full circle now.
David did a great session on the need for investigating open source as a way for school districts to bridge the budget gap. Makes a lot of sense, as budget dollars continue to dwindle. When you couple that fact with paying for annual licensing fees for your operating system, then the cost of an office suite, and finally multiply that by the number of computers in your school or district, you will find some significant savings that can be filtered into hardware or personnel. When you further look at all of your additional software products, things such as proprietary image manipulation software, proprietary graphic organizers, and so many other things, you can cut huge amounts of pork out of your technology budget.
David went on to speak about some model cities (San Diego) and states (Indiana) who are opening embracing Open Source and Linux in their schools. Indiana, from his slides, appears to be using Linspire, which is quite interesting, as they were just acquired by Xandros. Yes, the Xandros OS that appears on the eeePC from Asus. Indiana even conducts their own Open Minds conference for K-12 Education each fall. A colleague of mine attended last year, and I believe I will attend this year. Lots of Linux-y goodness!
More to come from NECC!