Last week , i send an open request to Dr. Michael Solem (AAG Director of Educational Research and Programs) to humbly request AAG to specifically include Open Education principles and FOSS4G tools firmly in the ConnnectED concept to support the new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T).
I am pleased to inform that Michael, has replied positively  and i have thanked him for this and “Geo for All” who will be pleased to provide any specific inputs needed by the AP GIS&T proposal committees for this. We will keep closely following these developments and will contribute as and when needed.
I am requesting help from all of you as if we dont act now it will be a big loss for the empowerment of thousands of schools across USA and missed empowerment and geospatial innovation opportunities for a generation. Students instead of being developed as creative innovative minds and future innovators and job creators in geospatial will turn to be just mere users of a particular properitory GIS software. I think this is big moral question for educators and policy makers. The missed economic and innovation opportunities are too big to be quantified.Access to high quality education is everyone’s birth right . It is not right to just put properitory vendor interests in education.
May i request all of you who are able to contribute to please apply to AAG in response to thier proposals for Authors, Reviewers for thier new AP Course in GIS&T so we can make sure Open Source, Open Standards, Open Data in Geospatial Education is clearly inputted into this course and i request all colleagues to contribute for .
To apply for consideration as a proposal author and/or reviewer, please submit a short (250-word maximum) statement of interest and a current resume/CV to Dr. Michael Solem, AAG Director of Educational Research and Programs, at msolem [at] aag [dot] org by June 15, 2015. Proposal authors and reviewers will receive a stipend to support their work.
More details at http://news.aag.org/2015/05/aag-seeks-proposal-authors-reviewers-for-new-ap-course-in-gist/
When i read Randal Hale’s email’s on the difficulties faced by that high school in the US for properitory software updates , it was clear wake up call on the consequences if we let properitory GIS agenda for schools and education go ahead. Also the point made by Margarita  on “The hidden cost, however, is the missed empowerment of a generation, that will most likely depend upon the software that they have learned to use at school. ” is very important.
If the properitory vendor decides to withdraw or change the conditions of thier offer to schools now or at any stage in the future what will happen to the poor schools. This is my biggest worry. Basically schools will be at the mercy of the properitory vendor. The vendor can change thier mind any time. The example Randal Hale gave from one of the high schools in USA  is a real eye opener of the long term costs/sustainability issues of depending on properitory GIS software in education. Though his example was the issues and difficulties faced by that high school in the US for properitory GIS software updates , i think it is NOT a local problem. It is a wider education problem that as educators we need to be aware of. Luckily in Randal’s example  this had a happy ending because he was kind enough to volunteer his time to install FOSS4G but more importantly imagine if there were no free and open source geo software from OSGeo Foundation for him to help the school.
Focus on just properitory vendor GIS tools only in education has long term consequences. Empowerment of academics and teachers is important to enable empowerment of students. This will make sure academics and teachers will always have the advantage and they will not be at the mercy and dictates of any properitory GIS vendor. Education and empowerment of academics and students are key for developing creative and open minds in students which is critical for building open innovation and contributes to building up Open Knowledge for the benefit of the whole society and for our future generations.
Thank you for your kind attention and support on this important matter.
 http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/ica-osgeo-labs/2015-June/001742.html [AAG Reply]