Don't Go Pro!

Brent Patterson

Friday 26 October Theater 30

I have been teaching with Free/Libre Open Source Software at the college level for over a decade, and I will argue that teaching with such tools is not just better for a budget, but a far superior learning platform. Twelve years ago, I slowly integrated software such as Blender, GIMP, Inkscape, and Krita into my design curriculum (replacing Adobe/Autodesk products) and noticed my students were learning more effectively, their work was stronger, and they were more motivated in their efforts. I have several theories as to why this is so. My main thesis is that FLOSS changes the way students approach and think about their problems. It moves the learning agenda from software to content, from skills to portfolio (even though they are growing important skills). Proprietary software teaches specific ways and methods for doing things "like a pro" which discourages creative play, experimentation and "deep practice". I will provide projects and examples of student work to support my arguments.