TOS: Taxonomy

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The phrase "Open Source in Education" is extremely unclear. If we're going to further the goals of Teaching Open Source, we need to speak with a consistent understanding and vocabulary.

Please edit this page ruthlessly. Note that many projects cited as examples could fit into multiple levels.

Levels of Open Source in Education

Level 1: Teaching Using Open Source Software

This level includes initiatives such as OLPC, K12LTSP, and the Fedora Education Math spin, which use Open Source educational software to teach other subjects, such as Mathematics or Media Arts.

Level 2: Teaching and Studying the Use of Open Source Software

Teaching students how to use Open Source software, and studying Open Source.

2A: Non-technical Use of Open Source Software

Open Source provides applications that are useful in many different fields of endeavor, ranging from the general (editing documents and balancing chequebooks) to the very specific (learning management systems and electronic circuit simulation).

2B: Technical Use of Open Source Software

Some Open Source software is used in very technical ways that require integration, configuration, and testing. This can range from using an Open Source operating system (such as a Linux or BSD distribution) to controlling devices (model trains) or setting up enterprise IT (using JBOSS, Apache, AMQP, and so forth). The distinction between level 2A and 2B is that users in level 2B have a greater understanding of what the software does, and generally configure it to perform a specific task or operate in a specific configuration. The distinction between level 2B and level 3 is that level 2B is focused on teaching the use of the software (even though at a deeply technical level) while level 3 is focused on advancing the software (through development and related activities).

2C: Studying Open Source

Open Source communities are interesting to those performing anthropological, social, linguistic, economic, and technical studies, due to the global, real-time nature of the collaboration that takes place within them (and the synthetic culture therefore produced) as well as the unique economic and technical frameworks employed by these communities.

Level 3: Working Within an Open Source Community

Teaching students how to contribute to and work within an Open Source project, collaborating with other community members on development, support, testing, documentation, bugfixing, and other collective tasks. This is teaching the "Open" in Open Source, and is the intended meaning of the phrase "Teaching Open Source".