Thanks to Nikos and team for another excellent edition of our Geo4All Newsletter. You can download the full newsletter at http://www.geoforall.org
It is also my great pleasure to introduce our colleagues at the National Bureau of Surveying (Dirección Nacional de Topografía – MTOP), Montevideo ,Uruguay as the Geo4All lab of the month for June 2016. The amazing work that Sergio Acosta y Lara and colleagues in Uruguay have done through gvSIG Batovi initiative has been an inspiration for all of us.
Through thier focus on Open Principles in Education they have now provided high quality spatial technologies education to students in all schools across Uruguay . Thanks to the Plan Ceibal they also have free laptops for all Primary and Secondary students in the country so they truly have the opportunity to reach every student no matter they are rich or poor with high quality teaching and learning tools.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orwN9K07XPo (Video with English translation)
gvSIG Batoví is a GIS (Geographic Information System) software tool applied to educational environments driven by the National Bureau of Surveying (Dirección Nacional de Topografía – MTOP) for the Plan Ceibal (OLPC initiative for Uruguay), through which Primary and Secondary students can acquire knowledge of geography using laptops through informative and interactive information. Based on Free/Libre Open Source GIS software, the initiative was the result of collective work that included the coordinated participation of four institutions: the National Bureau of Surveying, the gvSIG Association (Spain), the Geospatial Information Technologies Working Group (GTIG) of the College of Engineering (UDELAR ) and the Ceibal Center (Centro Ceibal).
Scalability is key for cost/sustainability issues esp if we are thinking of national and global scale of expansion for providing high quality education opportunities for all . The cost of hardware is getting lower (and will keep decreasing), internet access is increasing (even in developing countries, it will keep increasing) , so if we can also provide free and open technologies , open data, open educational resources etc it will be a big enabler for bridging the digital divide. gvSIG Batovi is an excellent example of a successful initiative in Open Principles in Education and helps us to understand why scalability and costs for scaling is fundamental . This is a good example of scalability of education opportunities with very little resources using Open Principles. Imagine if all these hundreds of schools and thousands of students had to depend on buying software and data for their teaching and learning. This simple idea can be scaled to millions of schools globally .This empowerment of educators and students is the true essence and gift of Open Principles.
Through our new initiative of Geo4All Schools we aim to use geotechnologies as a usecase to advance STEM interest in Schools through Open Principles so that students develop creative minds and develop to be future thought leaders and creative thinkers to help solve global challenges (not just to be just users). The bigger aim is to also to advance STEM education across the world and bring together schools, teachers and students across the world in joint projects and help building international understanding and global peace.