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Open Source Education Begins at an Early Age

The rate at which our society, on a global scale, is becoming more digitally inclined means that the generations to come will be more dependent on technology than at any other time in our evolution. Even now, children must gain technology knowledge at an early age to succeed in school and in their future careers. In classrooms, technology is heavily used on a daily basis by students to perform their daily tasks and complete work. To this end, many open source organizations are contributing to open source education for today’s youth.

Open source software (OSS) is becoming a standard in the technology market, and much of today’s youth will find themselves using open source in their future educational and professional endeavors. But to do so, this younger generation will first need to develop the skills that will allow them to build, create and explore OSS technology effectively down the road. This calls for education in open source.

An eBook from opensource.com outlines how today’s youth are getting involved in open source and stresses the role of open source education during childhood development to create a familiarity with the concept. The eBook explores the role of open source in the following areas:

Education: Implementing open source at educational institutions allows for the facilities to enjoy heightened accessibility and availability when it comes to their technology resources. Compared to proprietary solutions, open source offers many advantages for education, including reduced costs associated with support, maintenance and operation. What’s more, open source at the organizational level gives schools the opportunity to waste fewer resources on infrastructure and put more toward the students themselves.

Exploration: Students can learn to manipulate and create open technologies when open source is available to them. Children today are unafraid of technology, and many are growing up familiar with video game modifications, cheat codes and workarounds for nearly every type of device and program. Open source allows—and even encourages—this type of exploration and discovery. Rather than being discouraged from examining the inner workings of a program or, worse, adopting a hacking mindset, students using open source are free to satisfy their curiosity and learn by doing.

Coding: Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of jobs go unfilled in the technology sector due to a lack of qualified applicants. As such, today’s youth must be equipped to fill that void, ensuring future success for themselves, the economy and technological development. Open source is a tool that teaches kids how to code from the ground up, enabling them to see what’s behind the scenes in the software and games they encounter every day, giving them the power to manipulate, create and test to become active participants in technology.

Technology skills: Even children as young as three and four play on smartphones and tablets. Open source gives young children much more opportunity than simply being exposed to a screen as a user. Instead, using open source allows even very young learners to create their own learning environments and customize technology for their own use. These are important skills that they will need as they grow to adulthood in a technology-driven world.

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More Stories By Lacey Thoms

Lacey Thoms is a marketing specialist and blogger at Protecode, a provider of open source license management solutions. During her time at Protecode, Lacey has written many articles on open source software management. She has a background in marketing communications, digital advertising, and web design and development. Lacey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from Carleton University.