• Libre Software Training

last modified August 14, 2012 by strypey

This could include a number of specific projects, including:

Professional Training

* An expert user of the OpenOffice.org (or LibreOffice, Scribus etc) office application suite who provides free copies of OpenOffice for organizations, and trains their staff to transition the workflow they use on proprietary office applications to the OpenOffice suite.

* An expert user of the GIMP, Inkscape etc who provides free copies of these applications to organizations, and trains their staff in transitioning the workflow they use on proprietary graphics application to the free code equivalents.

 * etc etc with other free code software: accounting (GNUCash, spreadsheet), audio, video etc

Transition to Free Code

The starting point for this project could be providing free support to a non-profit organization who supports free software ideals but lacks the means to make the transition to using it in their everyday operations (in Aotearoa the obvious example in the Greens). This process could be thoroughly documented as it progresses, resulting in a 'transition guidebook' which could be used as a basis for repeating the operation with other organizations. For non-profit community organizations, public funding could be sought to pay the trainers. For business, the software install/ training package could be offered as a commercial service. Public workshops could be offered, again either publicly funded, or sponsored by supportive businesses.

Training Resources

CC-licensed video tutorials and materials could be gathered into packages for each sector, which could be hosted by an OER wiki like WikiEducator

Online tutorials

Graphics: Graphical Design with OSS

Gender Balance

Although things have come a long way in the last 10-20 years, software and IT in general have traditionally been male-dominated territory. This problem can be a viscious cycle, even when male geeks are doing their best to make the communities and the industry more accessible to women. From my reading and conversations on this subject, I can propose a number of reasons for this:

1) If women start to get involved, and realise they are the only woman, or among a small group of women, it's easy for them to feel uncertain about whether they are really welcome, and retreat. It's a paradox - the only way to get more women involved is to have more women involved. 

2) To the degree that men and women are brought up to act and think in different styles in our cultures, coming into a social environment designed around the way men think and act can be uncomfortable for those women. The fact that, like most people, male geeks are mostly blind to the unwritten rules and norms of their culture make it very difficult to discuss this openly, and mitigate it. 

3) Most frustrating of all for us well-intentioned equal-opportunities-advocating men, if we treat the women who come into our usually male-only space as a curiosity, and pepper her with well-meaning questions about how to get more women involved, chances are it'll freak her out and she won't come back.

One way to get more women involved in IT (and tech in general) is to give them kudos where they are already involved, and support women in selling participation in IT to other women, rather than trying to do if for them. One way to do that, is to use videos of women who are successful in IT as tutorials, especially for female learners, although it's good for male learners to find out that there are highly competent she-geeks out there too. Some examples: