It is where you will find the information, the tools and materials you need to "forge" or make a school and all its parts. All free for the asking (or download), and, in the future, international in content and character, SchoolForge is not a place or an organization, but a cause, and a collection of people and projects dedicated to it: bringing quality, affordable and dependable software and teaching materials to the people who need them around the world. As such, it is not a "service" so much as it is a community focal point, which, as much as anything else, represents an opportunity to get involved in one of its aspects.
The job we have set for ourselves is large, too large for any one person, group or organization. Furthermore, there already exist numerous individuals, companies and organizations and schools working on it. SchoolForge and the work it does comprise all of these efforts and provides them with a common entrance, by which they can discover, meet and collaborate with those of similar goals, and through which newcomers may discover each part or all of the world of free and open source solutions for education.
By analogy to the free and open source software development site, SourceForge, SchoolForge is conceived of as a site where schools can be developed. "What?" I hear you say, "You're going to build schools?" Not exactly. We're going to build what goes into a school, particularly, the software and other learning content that is needed by teachers and students to get on with their work.
This work will be done at each of the SchoolForge members' sites, links to which are provided on this site. More of a process than a location, SchoolForge is also a new and still-developing idea, which may take roots in many places in the near future.
There were several identifiable causes. First, those working for free and open source solutions in education began to see that the time had come when our various efforts would either complement or compete with one another. We decided that working together promised more hope than did competition. Secondly, there is a shared sense among those in the community that a clear message about free and open source solutions is needed, and that clarity would be impossible without unity. Third, the proposed settlement of the US vs Microsoft trial, which appears to offer an alleged monopoly still more ways to further its grasp, galvanized the community into action. The establishment of the SchoolForge coalition is our first step toward providing an alternative to schools. Its work will be our next.
How you can participate: Email based discussion group Everyone is welcome. If you want to find a project to volunteer to, or are interested in starting a new project - this is a good place to introduce your ideas. We are very aware that many regions that need free software are not English speaking. You are invited to join the communication if your english is not good. It is important for us to all work together.
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