From a Free Knowledge perspective, education is a key element in several aspects. The act of teaching/learning constitutes by definition the main mechanism for knowledge transmission and preservation. Educational environments are also rich discussion places where knowledge evolves and grows. Thus, Free Knowledge in Education can be seen from different perspectives:

  • Defend the freedom to learn and educate others, which in turn means
    • freedom of thought and freedom of speech;
    • free access to knowledge in general and specifically to educational materials; and
    • freedom to adapt and distribute improved versions and compilations of knowledge and educational materials.
  • Promote participation in knowledge development communities where learning-by-doing and mentor-apprentice relationships occur naturally.
  • Encourage critical thinking and an inquisitive attitude, especially in kids and young adults.

The OER movement is gaining momentum with initiatives like the OERF and the OERu (to name just two recent advances). Significant progress is being made in involving (primarily) tertiary educational institutions many of which are locked into proprietary software. In most cases, this requires students to purchase compatible proprietary software and compromise their values of sharing and helping their family, friends and community. In order to serve such vendor-locked institutions, most open educational initiatives are going ahead without regard for those which either cannot afford these solutions or who have made the ethical choice of using free/libre software.

Also, many of these initiatives follow a “freeware” model for open courseware, using NC and ND clauses that make adoption and reuse of these materials very difficult.

The Free Knowledge Institute engages with such initiatives to remind them of the importance and moral imperative for the use of libre software and truly free/libre licenses in education, and to develop guidelines and tools for doing the right thing in the right way.

This involves developing and offering courses on using free software in general (on servers, desktops and mobile devices) and in education, as well as developing guidelines, tools and tutorials on how to convert files into free formats and use free software for manipulating and rendering them. It also means participating in projects as observer / advisor partner to try to implement project-wide policies that address these issues and to raise awareness among other partners.


Free Educational Materials

Free Educational Materials[1] can be defined by applying the four freedoms from the Free Software Definition to educational materials. So, free educational materials provide their users these four essential freedoms:

  • the freedom to use the material for any purpose
  • the freedom to modify the material
  • the freedom to copy the material and share it with your neighbours
  • the freedom to distribute modified versions

Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are digital materials that can be re-used for teaching, learning, research and more. The definition of OER is broader than the Free Educational Materials definition as it also includes non-free materials. Non-Commercial and Non-derivative clauses are compatible with the OER definition, while they are clearly non-free and are considered detrimental to the sustainability of communities.


Get Involved

  • Learn, share, teach, mentor, construct knowledge as free knowledge, under free licenses!
  • Join the FTA discussion mailing list (closed)

This page is a static version of the collaboratively edited wiki page.