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Open-source toolkit for non-profits

There is a good discussion about how non-profits can minimize expense and maximize efficiency by adopting an open-source toolkit for their application needs. This is proving easier and easier each successive year and I imagine we will reach some sort of tipping point in that regard in the very near future; it will become standard operating procedure in the very near future.

The discussion is highlighted in this article. Now, nearer and dearer to my heart is the adoption of an open-source toolkit (perhaps even an entire open-source solution) for school systems. If a few pilot programs are launched at districts with financial constraints (all school systems) then we might start to see some legitimate feedback that will push this trend along as well.

Obviously, Moodle is an excellent resource for creating online courses and variations of this can be applied for supplementary materials which augment existing classroom syllabi. In that respect, we can think of Moodle as a creator of supplementary material, homework, course assignments, reading lists, etc..

The pros of all this open-source content are numerous:

Low cost
Low threshold for adoption
Commercial equivalent
Completely scalable and flexible

Cons:
No technical support (or at least limited)
Some open-source solutions have proven false starters

This is a thread of the conversation that will take place in Ghana at the eLearning Conference next week. Africa seems particularly poised to benefit from these solutions if willing to adopt them.

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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