I attended the first national conference on open-source and education, Open Minds 2007. It was held from October 9-11, 2007, in Indianapolis,Indiana.
I have already written several posts about my experiences at the conference and plan to write several more. This post, the Trip Report, contains the photos I took, and will serve as a a summary of my impressions.
My plan is to start with some of the photos, followed by a brief description. I apologize in that I haven’t yet fully identified all the people shown in the photos. I will attempt to fix that as I go along, and will also add some final thoughts after I have completed the more detailed posts on the people and projects that caught my attention.
Ben Mako Hill of MIT’s Media Lab. This was taken after his keynote speech that opened the conference. His OLPC can in the green box to his left.
I went up to introduce myself to Mako after his fine speech. He offered to let my try his OLPC. It powered up and found the wireless connection quickly. I then was able to bring up my blog and my very first post, as evidence both that it worked and to demonstrate my interest in education and open-source.
About twenty students from nearby high schools kindly traveled to the conference the first morning and made use of a computer lab that had been set up for them. It featured thin-clients running Ubuntu.
ASUS was a sponsor of the conference and had a table demonstrating some of their products, notably their new Eee Micro-laptop. I mentioned to their rep that my posts about building one of their barebone machines had drawn many views; for example, a google search on “ASUS Terminator C1” gives as the first hit the description of the machine in Newegg, and the second is my post on building the one I bought from Newegg.
The Eee is due out sometime in November and will cost about $270. I asked them to send me instructions on buying one when it was available.
I had lunch the first day with Dr. Ray Spain and Dr. Chris Whitlow of the Warren Country School District. Ray is the Supertindent, Chris the CTO. Warren County is among the poorest counties in North Carolina, and thus also among the poorest counties in the country. Chris has been using open-source since 1995, and has worked with Ray for several years.
Ray is on the left. Next to him is Mr. Jim Hare, CTO of A.C.E.S, a small company in Detroit that is working on putting thin-client systems into large, poor, urban school districts. Next to Jim is Chris. I am on the right.
I will more about them, and I look forward to working with them going forward.
Dr. Reed gave a short, gracious speech in which she welcomed all the attendees, and spoke of Indiana’s commitment to using open-source to improve education.
Mike Huffman and Laura Taylor (not pictured here) were the co-organizers of the conference. Both work for the Indiana State Dept. of Education.
I noted many attendees from other countries, and asked Laura Taylor if she could put together a list of the countries represented. I have a card listing them. I think there were about twenty.
There was a wrap-up session after the conference to review how it went and to make future plans. I had offered to give two of the attendees a ride to the airport, so I waited around until it was over.
I got them to smile by saying, “Ah, the Evil Axis of open-source educators.”
I took this picture a few minutes later, to capture the empty halls and the abandoned vendor tables. The one shown is ASUS’s. I took the conference signs that were in front of the door. The wrap-up session can be seen through the door.