National Workshop on FOSS Desktop Accessibility on August 26, 2011 at CDAC, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai

In today’s world, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) is growing day by day. We use these technologies very extensively in fulfilling our routine tasks like bill payments, banking transactions, reservations and many more to the extent that ICT is not a luxury, but necessity today. A large section of the society comprising people with disabilities finds it difficult to use ICT in the same way as normal people do. This includes the visually impaired (fully or partially blind), hearing impaired, people with cognitive disabilities (memory loss, etc.) and cerebral problems etc..

Such people have to be provided with different kinds of assistive technologies either software-based or hardware-based to make ICT accessible to them. A large number of software-based assistive technologies are normally in the form of applications running on desktops which make common desktop applications (office applications, browser etc.) accessible for the disabled person. Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) tools/techniques play an important role in creating assistive technologies that are free-of-cost, available to all, easily maintainable etc. for a large portion of population in a country like India.

The workshop intends to provide a platform for promotion and adoption of FOSS in the area of accessibility as well as creating opportunities for all stakeholders to discuss and identify the areas of accessibility that are still untouched. The workshop will host keynote and invited lectures by distinguished personalities of the field.

This workshop is being organized by CDAC, Mumbai at their Kharghar, Navi Mumbai campus. More details about the workshop can be accessed at http://www.cdacmumbai.in/index.php/news_and_events/national_workshop_on_foss_desktop_accessibility

National Workshop on FOSS Adoption in Education on August 27, 2011 at CDAC, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai

Many softwares have been developed for adopting technology in education for resource availability, sharing, and access to them even after school/college hours. There have also been developments aimed to ease other educational activities like course enrollment, conduct of examination from setting question papers to correcting answers and displaying results. Such softwares are available in the market in both forms proprietary and open source.

Unlike the proprietary softwares, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) alternatives are free of cost, source code is available with the software, and the institution has freedom to modify the source code to customize the software as per requirement. For modification and maintenance the institution has full freedom to develop the required skills in-house with the help of faculties and system admin staff or they can choose to hire external help.

However, one of the problems is there are many FOSS tools available and a novice institution/teacher/software development organization has to take lot of efforts to short-list/choose a software for adoption. They will have to spend days looking for different softwares, their reviews, comparisons, etc. If such problems are reduced for the ease of FOSS adoption then the institutions/teachers can reap the above benefits of FOSS much more seamlessly.

The workshop intents to promote technology and FOSS adoption in educational institutions. Various FOSS tools in education will be demonstrated in the workshop. The participants will also get to experience the work of C-DAC Mumbai in promoting technology/FOSS in education. The workshop will provide an opportunity to interact with participants from different organizations and industry practitioners. The workshop will involve keynote and invited lectures by distinguished researchers and/or professionals.

This workshop is being organized by CDAC, Mumbai at their Kharghar, Navi Mumbai campus. More Details about the workshop can be accessed at http://www.cdacmumbai.in/index.php/news_and_events/national_workshop_on_foss_adoption_in_education