The second edition of Youth Hacking 4 Freedom, the hacking competition for young Europeans, has just ended. For the last six months, the participants have worked on developing their own personal Free Software projects.
Free Software in Education
When you use Free Software you can use a program without expiration date, read its source code, modify the program to fit your needs, and further share the program and any improvements you make. The FSFE promotes the inclusion of Free Software in all levels of education systems and non-formal education.
Students should be taught the use of Free Software
Computer science curricula should focus on information technology concepts. Students should learn Free Software options for each task to gain technological competence and autonomy. Training students to use proprietary products makes them dependent on software companies. Educational institutes should refrain from this practice.
Free Software is the key to teaching students programming. Students should be taught Free Software because this way they can read the source code of a program and learn how it operates. This is paramount for students who are self-taught programmers. Writing code requires reading a lot of code. Using programs with hidden source code can sabotage learning, while Free Software lets everyone see in the finest detail how a program works.
Schools should use Free Software in their technological infrastructure
Educational institutes aim to convey a set of higher values to students, including freedom, equality, and solidarity. Free Software is a practice in information technology that embodies those values. People have the freedom to shape their technical infrastructure. People are free to improve the program themselves and share their contributions with others. Everyone is equal in this process. Free Software communities have a spirit of helping others. Formal education should not overlook the pedagogical potential in Free Software. Schools should encourage teachers of all courses to prefer Free Software when they make use of technology. The technological infrastructure of educational institutes should also rely on Free Software.
We further explain why we need Free Software in eduction in our argumentation page. You might also be interested in our children's book about Free Software, our coding competition for teenagers, or a campaign (DE) about Free Software in education. You can also help us collect material introducing programming to children by adding information in our wiki. If you agree that students should learn Free Software and schools should use Free Software, please share this page. Support Free Software in Education for a future generation with better programmers and better citizens.