Free Schooling

#gnulinux #freesoftware #freeschooling

This is the first in a series of posts about free schooling. In short, free schooling refers to an informal association of educational leaders and students that agree to the free schooling credo. These posts are in the process of being collected into a larger work entitled Free Schooling. In order to pace myself and structure the work, I am beginning with the table of contents and the free schooling credo. I hope to publish quarterly essays on each of the subjects below over the next few years. Comments are welcome along the way.

Table of Contents

  • What is the purpose of education?
    • To whom is this question asked; a word on audience
    • A review of classical approaches to this question
    • A review of modern approaches to this question
    • A discussion of ethics, non-negotiable and negotiable principles
    • Politicization and bias
    • Education as a human right
    • The difficulties presented with formal schooling
    • The difficulties with State-based schooling
    • Citizens, people, and participants
  • What is free schooling and how does it contribute to education?
    • A brief review of informal and formal leadership theory
    • A brief review of informal and formal authority
    • Free schooling and ‘follower as leader‘ theory
    • Free schooling and ‘informal as formal’ theory
    • Home-schooling, State-based schooling, and informal schooling
    • Traditionally under-served communities
    • Assessment, pedagogy, and curricular design
  • Why is free schooling needed?
    • The difficulties with open terminology
    • A brief review of open-education and schooling history
    • The difficulties with open-source licenses; a critique of software licensing
    • The difficulties with copyright, patent law, and intellectual property; a critique of open documentation licensing
    • The Free Software and Documentation licenses
    • The problems with MOOCs
    • Pearson, kernels, and privacy rights; the difficulties of State oversight
    • Current solutions to the problem;
      • Being radically free; a critique of the OERu
      • The Open Schoolhouse; a critical review
      • The democratizing of schools; a critical review
      • Blended learning, Khan Academy, and other models
    • The credo of free schooling; free resources, design, and outcomes
  • Who does free schooling serve?
    • A review of organizational classifications and authority
    • A review of organizational classifications and leadership
    • Informal free associations and authority
    • Informal free associations and leadership
    • Service, philanthropy, and volunteerism; an architectonic review
    • Participants, freedom, and learning
    • Instructional leadership as a follower; empowering people
    • A detailed analysis and review of the free schooling credo
  • Appendix A – The Citizen’s Guide to Self-Hosting
    • GNU/Linux fundamentals
      • A brief history of computing and GNU/Linux
      • Command line basics
      • Operating systems, networks, and ssh
      • Virtual private servers and self-hosting; a review
      • Hardware and software; history and clarification
      • Security and privacy
      • RFC, IEEE, the OSI layers
    • Host Management
      • Nameservers, DNS, and Registrars
      • Modems, Routers, and Firewalls
      • Server configurations, backups, and version control
      • Web-hosting, front-end design, and content-management
      • Servicing and upgrading

This is a large project that I will break into what I hope will be quarterly posts, usually in the form of a draft essay for each section I have listed above. For now, however, I will begin with the credo of the free school. The free school is:

  • A type of schooling that lives outside of formal schooling institutions and is instead a free association of educational leaders devoted to the free schooling credo listed below.
  • A type of schooling that is entirely libre and gratis for all of the learners. The costs that the mentors incur must be freely donated and have no hidden costs passed on to the learner either explicitly (e.g., fees for extras, etc.) or implicitly (e.g., advertising).
  • A type of schooling that employs a common wiki for documentation, a self-hosted repository for version management, and a common database for assessment outcomes and course/project designs, and a forum for leadership meetings and discussions.
  • A type of schooling that guarantees the right of the learner to retain all of the artifacts of learning acquired, and a system in which every instructor (and optionally the learner) adopts and pushes forth a variation of the course and project.
  • A type of schooling that adopts asynchronous programs of study that are centered around finite courses and projects
  • A type of schooling in which participants agree to use free resource, design, and outcome analyses; a core that serves as the nexus for the connection between the leadership association.
    • Resources: Participants adopt software and hardware resources that are self-hosted and freely licensed.
    • Design: Participants adopt a transparent design process, liberal design principles, and free licensing for every type of documentation supporting the project.
    • Outcomes: Participants adopt best practices in instruction and assessment, leveraging paideia, project-based-learning, and scientific hacking projects as its core instructional techniques. All participants contribute to a long-term assessment database for courses and projects and assessments.
  • A type of schooling that is broad enough to allow for variation and debate within its community, but convergent enough to ensure the freedom of the participants

These are re-posts of my original work on the Haack’s Networking Wiki. To view the license for this project and latest release, please check there.

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