Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Open Source Education May Solve Talent Crunch

SkillsCamp in the news !!


P eople from Pune's tech unconference community gathered at the Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research on 18 August for the first edition of SkillsCamp, a BarCamp style gathering of geeks with a focus on giving technical training to the hightech community.

A number of ideas came together in the SkillsCamp concept. At BarCampPune3, on 7 July, I gave a talk on opensource education and pointed to a variety of examples such as MIT Open Courseware http://ocw.mit.edu and the Digital Studyhall Project http://dsh.cs.washington.edu, in which videos of expert teachers are freely distributed to the global community. I believe this model of open source education is the only scalable solution to the talent crunch facing the technology sector in India, as evidenced by the much talked about exodus of Riya.com from India because of the difficulty and expense of finding quality senior software developers.

Following that talk, a number of the Pune BarCamp organizers offered to help, so SkillsCamp was born in an effort to galvanize the Indian technology community to create quality open source courseware helpful to people working in the IT industry.

About 70 people attended the first SkillsCamp and held sessions on a variety of topics ranging from Google Gears to AJAX to using screen readers to make Linux accessible to the blind. There were about 10 sessions total. SkillsCamp was sponsored by Codewalla.com and SkillsCorps.com. SkillsCorps also recorded video and screencasts for most sessions, which will be freely available on its website.

Freeman Murray has worked in the high-tech industry in California and India for the past 12 years, including a stint at Sun Microsystems, Inc. on the Java group. Currently, Freeman is starting a company in Pune, SkillsCorps.com.

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