Thursday, May 03, 2007

NECC 2007 Open Source Pavilion - Making Plans!

OK, NECC is coming up (June 24 - 27 in Atlanta), and this is a combination of a status report and a call for volunteers/help.

Please forward this post to your Free and Open Source Software friends!

NECC is the National Educational Computing Conference, and it attracts over 15,000 educators each year. It's one of the largest (if not the largest) educational technology shows in the world. For the last several years NECC has supported an "Open Source Pavilion" (apologies to Richard Stallman) with a Linux thin-client lab for demonstration purposes. Last year we added a speaker series, which is now a part of the main NECC program. This year we are getting our own large room (!!) and adjacent hallway space. Hurrah!

This years speakers can be seen at our organizing wiki: There will also be two "Birds of a Feather" sessions on FLOSS:

OK. Now, about getting help!

We need:

1. "Swag." We've gone round about on this, and aren't sure how successful it is to give things away, but people sure like it. CDs/DVDs have been the rule, but we wouldn't turn down t-shirts or buttons or pens or anything. OK, you big-gun FLOSS companies--this is easy stuff!
2. Logistical funding. We are bringing 60+ computers to Atlanta, a couple of servers, and lots of networking gear. Got some extra cash? We'd also love to get some brightly-colored t-shirts for our volunteers.
3. Setup volunteers. We'll set up the lab and computers late Saturday afternoon/evening. Maybe we'll get some pizzas and make it a party.
4. Volunteer for "milling around." The Open Source Pavilion needs folks who'll just answer questions (mostly really basic) about what FLOSS is. Come for an hour, or come for three days.
5. "Playground booths." These are 5 - 10 stations where we'll be demonstrating different FLOSS programs. Previously we've showcased OpenOffice, GIMP, Audacity, Linspire, SchoolTool, Edubuntu, Moodle, Firefox, and Knoppix. We're open to just about anything that you'd like to demonstrate that will give our attendees some good hands-on, one-on-one demonstrations. We welcome proposals from commercial vendors who will commit themselves to also supporting the FLOSS ideals and helping out in general.
6. Podcasting. Want to record our speakers for posting audio recordings of their presentations? (Paul Nelson?) Let us know.
7. Computers. It would help a ton to have computers/laptops we don't have to ship from California for the thin-client lab. Also, each playground booth will need two or three computers for demonstrations.
8. Students. Got some students who are using FLOSS? We'd love them to help in the Pavilion and demonstrate at the playground booths. They get a free t-shirt and lunch each day. We've even got some open, unscheduled lab time and we could have them do short presentations!

You can go to the wiki ( to sign up to volunteer or send me an email ( letting me know what you can do.

Also: For reference, my interview series on FLOSS in education is at And are you an educational blogger? Check out our all-day Saturday EduBloggerCon 2007 meet-up.

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