May i request all who are taking part in various events globally on science and education to also make use of the opportunity to promote Open Principles in Education by sharing GeoForAll ideas and welcoming all interested to be part of this.
I first came across GIS by serendipity. More than twenty years back (in 1994) , I was a student in Civil Engineering in India and by pure chance I came across a short article in a magazine in my college library on the amazing Geographic Information System that is used by town planners. That was the first time I heard about the wonderful technology called GIS! At that time there was no GIS in the college where I did my undergraduate degree. My dream that time was to get opportunity to do my final year undergraduate project using GIS. I still remember the struggles I faced to just get access to learning GIS as very few universities had GIS that time in India as it was very expensive. I spend nearly two years going around different universities and places knocking so many doors to just to get access to GIS. Unfortunately in spite of all my best efforts I failed that time...
I was disappointed but I carried on working with hope and faith. I did my final year undergraduate project in design of a hospital building! (structural engineering project). Still I kept looking for opportunities to get access to GIS. Years later (after I finished my undergraduate degree), I finally got opportunity to learn GIS through another project and my search for learning GIS lead me to so many new opportunities . As some wise people told me, FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning. So when I think back, even though my efforts to get access to GIS in my undergraduate years failed, I learned lot of things from those experiences. In fact, if I had not gone though those experiences , I might not have got the determination to do everything in my abilities to keep the doors of GIS education open to all so that no student anywhere should go through what I went through.
When GeoForAll was started , I faced lot of ridicule and opposition from some folks but I also got lot and lot of amazing support and help from so many amazing colleagues globally. Thanks to all our amazing colleagues, we have now truly made GIS education opportunities open to all.
Open principles in education (open educational resources, free and open software, open data, open standards etc) are key for true empowerment of staff and students globally and making geospatial education and opportunities accessible to all . Millions of globally connected minds working together on the common mission of enabling Open Education opportunities for everyone will be key for making these developments possible.
I am requesting all colleagues to keep the doors of education opportunities open for all. For me, Openness is not just about open source , open standards or open data … It is about the Open mindsets to help make education opportunities inclusive to students from all economic backgrounds.
Education + Empowerment = GeoForAll
I am very grateful to get the opportunity to learn GIS. So many kind people helped me on my journey to learn GIS . So it my duty now to do whatever I can to make sure the doors of education opportunities are open to all.
We look forward to working and building collaborations with all interested in this education mission. Access to quality education and opportunities is key for getting rid of extreme poverty and enabling broadly shared prosperity for all. Please support Open Principles in Science and Education for building a better world for everyone.
The Future of Geo is Open for Everyone...