OSNV: Creating Opportunity for Our Youth with Open Source



Nonprofit

OSNV Mission

We are volunteers and non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the lives of future generations by leveraging technology and a "learn by doing" environment. Currently we are focused on two programs: Knowledge + Economics Simulation Lab for the kids and young adults starting about the 8th grade, and the Computers for Kids program, recyclers of older PCs which are refurbished with state-of-the-art open source. These systems are then distributed though partner non-profit organizations to kids who currently do not have PC technology at home.

A synopsis of each program is presented in the next column. Full descriptions are at the links above.

OSNV Vision or Principles

  • You learn by doing. You learn most efficiently by involved participation and least effectively be being lectured to or reading thousands of pages. A dull economics book is inefficient in transferring knowledge about how risk and return works in a capitalist system when compared to a real-world simulation like Rail Road Tycoon. No supply / demand graphs just the feedback of success and failure as the kids try different strategies. And, as opposed to dreading the next chapter in the economics book, they can't wait to get another try.

  • Technology accessible by everyone. The founders of SQI and the KESL project are deeply disturbed by the "digital divide" in our society and by the hi-tech community's indifference to this issue. The KESL project addresses this by a commitment to Open Source. Every technology in the KESL simulation tool chain is Open Source and cross platform. This mean access to the technology is free and will run on Windows, Mac and Linux systems.

  • Knowledge is created by Experience. The path to knowledge is a process: Experience --> Learning --> Concept This is a view of acquiring knowledge by a process of interaction with the world and learning of how it responds. The final step is to place this into a concept that crafts a framework of why the real world, across the broad range of stimulus, generates a particular response. It is our core believe that simulations can be used to provide efficient and effect processes for the stimulus / response feedback that models the real world close enough to build knowledge.

Revolution / Paradigm Shift

Technology normally advances in small evolutionary steps as one engineer or scientist builds on the collective knowledge of the field to introduce the next small step. We see this in software as companies add yet another feature.

Infrequently a really stunning revolutionary idea dramatically changes the rate and direction of technology development. The PC is an example of a revolutionary concept that changed the world.

These points of dramatic technology change are often referred to in the business community as Paradigm Shifts. Investors and executives focus on Paradigm Shifts because a complete restructuring if the market usually follows. New winners are born. Old market leaders die.

This Open Source Revolution topic presents articles that make a compelling case that Open Source is a revolution and that all should be aware of the paradigm shift.

OSNV believes the open-source paradigm shift is an empowering and profitable phenomena for those who embrace it. And, it will be a force of destruction for those that resist or adopt late.

Community Collaboration

The OSNV site uses a collaborative web publishing environment. This environment enables the content experts - you - to directly and immediately publish material to the site using a web browser editing tool and easy-to-learn (15 minutes) formatting rules. See Contributors page to become part of the team.

This approach removes the bottle neck of having to push all new additions and modifications though the web master, whose only value add, in most cases, is applying the arcane html rules to the content. With the collaborative environment the software manages the html and the you focus on the content.

The collaborative environment enables OSNV to build a community of contributors to the knowledge and programs presented on the site.

Economic Simulation Labs

Kids can manage this

Economic simulations are part of the you learn by doing philosophy of teaching.

Many endeavors require direct participation to learn. You learn to paint by painting. To hit a curve ball by batting. Etc. These are physical activities with direct physical world stimulus.

Management and strategic planning, on the other hand, are mental activities involving processing large information sets. There are usually real-world stimuli, for example tons of coal moved by a train. But these are converted to information sets (reports) that are feed into the management process.

Thus, computer based simulations labs can create an environment that is very close to the processes of real world business and can accelerate the process and thus the learning.

OSNV's Knowledge + Economics Simulation Lab delivers a world class simulation environment for schools and non-profits on a zero cost platform.

Computers for Kids

Lets get home

The Cigar Lions have a mission: Give children a chance to become part of the 21st Century by giving them computers in their homes. Schools are able to provide an introduction to technology but because of their limited budgets, cannot provide the chance of total immersion. Without experimentation, many potentially talented students will miss an opportunity to show what they are capable of doing or to learn advanced techniques.

With a combination of donated computers, Open Source software, partnerships with local organizations and lots of enthusiasm, the Cigar Lyons are changing the lives of children with their Computers for Kids program.








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