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The need for free software education now

This post is to link to the editorial I wrote for the Free Software Foundation Spring 2022 bulletin.

Teachers interested in GNU Emacs can consult this earlier post on A back-to-school/GTD Emacs journey or Emacs as design pattern learning. Possibly also of use, Coming to programming in 2020 which documents part of how I came to use free software in my teaching, or #ILoveFS which more generally reviews how I came to free software.

From the Free Software Foundation Spring 2022 bulletin editorial:

Making the choice to use free software in the classroom helps us create learning environments that foreground questions of value. This can be illustrated by a passage in Confucius’s Analects where the skilled mechanic is illustrated as sharpening their tools before they are able to do their work well . . .

Free software teaches us the significance of the freedom to think and make informed decisions that champion human agency. It does so by offering myriad choices for personal or local customization and types of support. It allows us to question whether we really need to use locked-in software silos out of “Convenience,” to cite an edifying poem by W. S. Merwin. It challenges us to to see knowledge as something that is not passively downloaded but requires active engagement, discovery, and selection. To “sharpen our tools” is to learn something about learning. . .

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