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Section Title Primary information Description and Notes Suggested resources
Lesson Length The expected lesson length will be approximately one hour

Some variation possible.

Assessment Level 1

Students The lesson is suitable for KS3 and KS4 students Since this is a new specification, the lesson is suitable for Year 7 to 9 students and differentiated by outcome  
Overall Focus The focus for this criterion is for the students to investigate and assess some of the many open source alternatives to common applications which cost money and have restrictive usage licenses Students should be introduced to as many applications as possible, since they are free to download and use, and can explore these for themselves and evaluate their usefulness

Lesson Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Key words application, file format, portability, open source, proprietary, standard, feedback, software evaluation These words need to be reinforced throughout the series of lessons  

find open source equivalents for many proprietary software applications

Evidence here will be student's own work, eportfolios and assessor observations  
Key Questions Some questions to get learners thinking about the topics Students will need to show that they understand what open source is and what varieties there are available for them to work with, from programming tools, to office suites and graphics. Why is open source important?  Is it?  How does it make any money?  Are proprietary systems better?
Learning Objectives
  • understanding open source as an idea
  • be able to explain the main features of an open source application
  • be able to discuss the difference between closed and open source

Students will need to use a range of applications throughout this entire curriculum.  They need to be aware of alternative to expense and limiting proprietary systems, but also need to be critical of their limitations as well.

If you are using the Learning Machine learning system, students can add their comments and material to this site as evidence of their growing understanding.  The site, if used consistently, will show progression via charts of activity and outcomes.
Teaching and Learning Elements
  • Introduction to open source
  • Examples of popular open source applications
  • Students can break into groups and work on a range of applications to investigate their features and functions
  • Class discussion and examples of their findings
  • Group or individual work on choosing their favourites

Students should be able to instigate as many applications as possible and referable compare them side by side with their proprietary systems.  Do they match up?  Should they match up, or offer something different?

You could divide students up into groups to investigate different application areas and report back to the class, i.e. office suites, graphics, audio, video, business.  The students can be in groups based on their interest areas.

Use some of the student's ideas and examples to flesh out a solid understanding before progressing

Question students about how and why they did what they did.  Check for understanding.


Lesson Structure Possible structure
  1. introduction to open source applications available and how to use them
  2. investigate in detail one of a range of applications to illustrate the way to evaluate the features and functions
  3. write up of application features and functions
  4. discuss what they have learned and what they can apply
  5. volunteers to share their work and explain how they came to their opinions
  6. highlight next week's focus and issue homework

is a great place to search for open source applications which can be used instead of more well known proprietary ones.  Students can download and install the software, or you could get the school to do this on their behalf.  The software is divided into categories.

Open Source CMS logo is useful for investigating business based software packages which are alternatives to proprietary ones.  The students may not be familiar with the closed CMS (Content Management System) alternatives as they are used in the business world, but they can try out the software and evaluate it for free.

If students want to look at open source alternatives to their actual operating system, they can try this without harming their home machine.  They can download Virtualbox logo which will allow them to install and run another operating system on their computer.  They can then download a copy of a Linux operating system for free and install and run it as a virtual machine easily.  Alternatively, you can purchase a Linux magazine from a newsagent and allow them to try the disk.  Many Linux disks run "live" which means they run from the CD and go once you take the CD out.

Can open source be successful?

Homework Get students to complete evaluating various applications on their blogs or ePortfolios. Students can vary their homework depending on their level of understanding Get students to document their experience on their portfolio system for assessment


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