Gold Coast TechSpace Teaching and Learning Laboratory

Request

Aim of Project: Promote Linux in the community on the Gold Coast by giving hands on instruction on the use of Linux and Open Source programmes.

Introduction

We recently formed the Gold Coast TechSpace in November of 2011 - a collaborative space based on the Hackerspace Model with the aim to provide a space for like-minded individuals to get together to share ideas and learn from one another. The project is going well with us having a large unit in Southport to call home for our projects. Having incorporated as an Association with an active committee we have seen our small membership base steadily grow.

Our setup is slightly different to other Hackerspaces; only half our time, effort and space is dedicated to typical Hackerspace projects - electronics, 3D printing etc. The other half is focused around a learning lab where we can educate members and the public on how to accomplish everyday tasks with Open Source technology. We are also hoping to provide some focus on the business side of Linux and Open Source as there is a huge gap in the local Gold Coast market, with a lot of businesses defaulting to Windows and .net for development as they are just not aware of the alternatives.

We regularly host the Open Source Gold Coast group (formally the Gold Coast Linux Users Group) at the Gold Coast TechSpace building as well as regular Bar Camps with members coming from as far as the New South Wales border and Brisbane. We encourage the public to attend any of our regular scheduled meet-ups so they can come in and meet us all and see how using Open Source can be a great way to achieve all those “If only there was a way to do this” problems we all encounter in our lives.

Some of the recent meetings we have held are: - Installing Ubuntu on a laptop to use as a digital oscilloscope.

  • Replacing Windows Server with Linux using Zentyal, Zarafa, SME Server or Zimbra
  • Zoneminder on an OLPC using the internal webcam for security monitoring.
  • Teaching event - Linux based CAD and 3D modelling using Ubuntu, FreeCAD and Blender vSlic3r, Printrun and other 3D printing software for RepRap running on Linux - Reprap and maker bot construction days. vEnterprise Linux Session
  • Linux Terminal Server Project & Kickstart Linux Installs

We hope to eventually make the space available to other Open Source user groups that are based on the Gold Coast such as the Wordpess Gold Coast, Drupal Gold Coast as well as technology innovation groups like Silicon Beach Gold Coast which don’t have permanent place to hold their regular meet-ups let alone one that can be equipped to their needs.

Request

We are seeking a grant because our teaching and learning laboratory only has one computer. We need to buy as many decently equipped computers as we can to fill our teaching and learning laboratory as our lack of computers is hampering our ability to teach, learn and spread the use of Open Source technologies amongst our members and the wider community.

Conclusion

A lot of people in Australia think of the Gold Coast as all about Tourism and property development, and this is partially true, our economy like our geography is very narrow. However, there is also a thriving technology community just desperate to break out and we have setup the Gold Coast TechSpace as a hub for this.

At present, we have a chicken-and-egg problem. Without adequate facilities, we won’t get more paying members and without more paying members, we cannot buy the equipment we need to attract members and demonstrate what can be achieved in a collaborative Open Source world. This is why we are requesting Linux Australia for some financial assistance to kickstart our teaching and learning laboratory so that we can promote Linux and Open Source software in the Gold Coast community and beyond.

Grantee: 
Steve Dalton
Grant: 
AU$ 2,000
Applied: 
Saturday, 31 March 2012
Granted: 
Monday, 16 April 2012