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Open Source

One of the first aspects I am loving about the course so far, is the lecturers. It is so refreshing to be guided by people who really believe in the love of knowledge, and share it so openly. In fact, everything about the course is open; Open Source. Using tools and information that is open source, our own thoughts and research, through this blog, will be open source. But what does Open Source mean? According to the Open Source Initiative,

Open source software is software that can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone.

Free alternatives to the Apples and Microsofts of this world, owning and copyrighting everything. Examples of open source software that I already use myself are WordPress, Mozilla Firefox, 7-Zip, Open Office, Notepad++. There are many more that I havn’t discovered yet, and when I do, I will be adding to my digital box of tools.

I’m a hoarder, it comes from years of teaching workshops, with an emphasis on recycling and upcycling. Now, as I start to paddle in this ever-increasing digital culture pond, I’m beginning to realise I am hoarding digital items; articles, projects and in particular digital tools.

…that is what we are all about: finding the right tools for organising knowledge effectively

This is a quote from one of our talks from Dr. Mike Cosgrave. I don’t know why that sentence pleases me so much, my inner-librarian is coming out. I’ve always been passionate about sharing knowledge about crafts, and well anything else I can share!

During the summer, I attended Activism Summer Camp, organised by Claiming Our Future. It had the beautiful theme of Making the Resistance really Irresistible. Claiming Our Future is a progressive political network. It comprises of individuals and organizations from a range of sectors including, in particular, the community, environmental, global justice, cultural and trade union sectors.  It was a jam packed 30 hours of learning, sharing and doing, creative action for social change.  There were social workers, youth workers, NGO’s, and a few unlabeled attendees like me, who just have an interest in social change. I attended 2 workshops, Banner & Poster Making and Graphic Design for Campaigning. Both workshops used some form of open source software to produce some fantastic graphics and design. It piqued my interest in open source, as an ideal, and its practicalities, especially when used to highlight social campaigns. Here is a link to a PDF to the report for the camp, if you would like to read it: creative_activist_summer_camp_03072015 (and of course, I am practising using Zotero, a free digital citation tool, to bookmark this PDF!). It was a very well organised and attended event, which hopefully Claiming Our Future will repeat next year.

To help promote this idea of Open Source, I will be creating a special tool category, to log any and all digital tools I come across, that might be of use, from graphics to note-taking. Its trial and error to find the right one that suits, is easy to use and navigate. These will be a little collection of what I like.

Feel free to comment and recommend any! I would love to hear your opinion and of course, hear about more free digital tools.





So, what do you think ?